Most agricultural land is no longer as productive as it once was, either due to water scarcity, low soil fertility, lack of space, or changes in climatic conditions. Hydroponics appears as a technological alternative that produces high-quality, safe, nutritious, and sustainable food. In addition, it makes it possible to grow in small and large spaces without climatic or space limitations throughout the year.
Facundo Andrés Mancini Soto
Maite Durietz Gonzalez Alemán
Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina
A system and design for every need: BABEL is an innovative venture because it provides a comprehensive solution customizing hydroponics technology for any situation. This innovation used complex known systems and adapted them to work in different contexts, weather, and scales.
The innovation includes training and advice throughout the entire process (acquisition of products, installation, and maintenance), providing a comprehensive service.
This innovation was born from the fusion of different experiences and knowledge of three people. Federico worked in a company linked to the pharmaceutical industry. At that job, he started learning agriculture techniques. He decided at that point to start working on this project. He joined forces with an industrial designer and another person linked to marketing. The three perspectives allowed him to devise BABEL. They spent years improving the design and improving the practices until they were able to make it happen. “We started by buying baskets in a plastic shop, and we adapted them and commercialized them. Then we started with our own fabrication,” Federico told us.
BABEL is an Argentine project that promotes a model of responsible and sustainable food production, cultivation, and local consumption, focusing on food quality.
BABEL proposes to bring this technology in a practical and accessible way, for every person, everywhere. It is an inclusive, innovative, and sustainable initiative. Working under the motto "A garden in each home," it seeks to generate a positive impact both on a social and on an environmental level.
The primary source of income comes mostly from sales of home systems. Its purpose is to offer consumers an alternative to grow their vegetables in the city.
The entrepreneurs invested all their savings, and in the first year, they were able to recover their investment and achieved almost ARS 91.000 of Net Income. In the following years, the sales went up by 119% vs. Y1, 169% vs. Y2, and in the last year (2019), 144% vs. Y3.
BABEL is an enterprise with a positive social and environmental impact.
In relation to social impact, the innovation provides benefits on human health because the use of herbicides is zero and that of pesticides and fungicides are much lower compared to the traditional agricultural system; greater traceability thanks to the accessibility of BABEL products, local consumption is encouraged. When buying locally, the traceability of the products is facilitated. It is known where they come from, and there is a greater chance of knowing if that production was environmentally and socially ethical. In short, better decisions are made, favoring the communities, promoting decent work, and boosting the local economy. And finally, it provides a cultural change by promoting the production of food for self-consumption. It generates a culture of valuing resources that allows them to be used more efficiently and enhances positive impacts.
In relation to the Environmental aspect, through BABEL systems, it is possible to save water, nutrients, fertilizers, and fertilizers; reduce contamination of water and soils by the use of agrochemicals; the reduction of the loss of biodiversity due to deforestation, the use of agrochemicals and the advance of the agro-livestock frontier; offer time to soils for their natural recomposition; decrease GHG emissions from food loss and waste and long-distance transportation.
Federico Ferrer, BABEL co-founder
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Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, AR
Business Website: http://babel.com.ar/
Year Founded: 2014
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
BABEL is a small, young, and innovative company committed to caring for the environment and people. Under the motto "A garden in each home," it designs and installs automated hydroponic systems, providing access to healthy, nutritious, and high-quality food. Through its products, "Hogareño," "Ago," and customized facilities, BABEL seeks to offer a sustainable alternative to traditional food production systems, promoting local production, and modifying people's consumption habits so that they can eat better and live a quality life.