Sustainable Ag System Preps for Commercial Launch

Posted: Updated:
ECSIA is preparing for a 2017 commercial launch of its agricultural equipment. ECSIA is preparing for a 2017 commercial launch of its agricultural equipment.

The founder of a self-contained agriculture project is preparing to make the modular system available for sale in early 2017, but says it’s already in use in Indiana and around the world. The launch is a big leap for an effort that began as a labor of love by a father for his son.

Like many entrepreneurs, ECSIA CEO and founder Glynn Barber is understandably passionate about his project. But the Air Force veteran and former owner of a tool and die shop is clear that his motivation was getting one of his children moved off of pharmaceutical medications and back to edible micronutrients. Several years after beginning his research, he’s developed a self-contained system that’s already growing food and fish from Haiti to Africa to East Chicago.

ECSIA (pronounced ess-EYE-uh) stands for Environmentally Controlled Sustainable Integrated Agriculture. The system’s design uses recirculated water from the fish-growing portion of the operation to produce organic fruits and vegetables in a very short time frame. ESCIA is constructed in modular sections so that an individual system can be easily expanded or reduced. The company has developed modules it says are suitable for locales such as schools and homesteads up to large commercial operations. Barber says that unlike traditional aquaponics systems that might require 8,000 pounds of tilapia to grow 8,000 pounds of produce, the ECSIA system has proven to be much more efficient.

“What you’ll see with ECSIA is that it’s really commercial agriculture, not aquaponics. We have several customers around the globe that are taking 250 pounds of fish annually and growing between 16,000 and 20,000 pounds of produce.”

Barber adds the modular system’s “plug and play” feature has generated interest in agricultural lending.

“We have the only aquaculture equipment that is considered equipment, and lendable banks are looking at this to lend on it like you would a John Deere tractor. And it’s energy-efficient, running on seven amps of power, continuous.”

In an effort to keep production of all the parts of the ECSIA system as Hoosier-centric as possible, Barber notes only two things are manufactured outside Indiana: the system’s pump, which is made in New Jersey, and a clamp that comes through a Michigan vendor that is made in China. He says he’s working hard to re-source the clamp.

The ECSIA system is patent-pending, poised for approval in early 2017 according to Barber. He believes ECSIA has enormous education potential as well and plans to release a K-12 curriculum simultaneously with the commercial launch, likely in January or February. Wapahani High School has been running an ECSIA operation since 2013; the one in Haiti is run by an orphanage. The system has strong support from the Sustainable Communities Institute in Muncie, as well as Ball State University.

Barber is also in the process of finishing the system’s operations manual. He says he’s been reluctant to speed production because, while he can handle inquiries from the 15 or so projects underway around the world now, that will become much more complicated when he’ll have to answer to over 200. He wants the manual to be able to answer most of the questions, anywhere in the world.

In the meantime, Barber has found that his unexpected foray into biology has had some other beneficial consequences, one in particular that could help reduce algal blooms in natural bodies of water. It’s also yielding some potentially profitable applications in the world of traditional farming.  2017 could be a big year for this home-grown company in little Red Key, Indiana.

  • Perspectives

    • How Well Are You Tracking Your Marketing?

      One of the first metrics business owners learn about is return on investment, or ROI. Earning the highest possible ROI is critical when running a business. You make investments with the expectation that you’ll have something to show for them. So how's the ROI on your investment in marketing and advertising? If you’re like most business owners, your answer is something like "I think it's pretty good" or "things seem to be working."

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Triple XXX Root Beer Appears in Prime Time

      A soft drink that carries the name of an iconic West Lafayette restaurant has been featured on a national television series. In a message on the Triple XXX Family Restaurant's Instagram page, co-owner Carrie Ehresman said the recent appearance of Triple XXX Root Beer on NBC's "Chicago Fire" was not product placement. She said the show's producers reached out through the restaurant's website and "we weren't sure we'd make the final cut until it aired!"

    • $13M Townhome Development Debuts in Carmel

      Indianapolis-based real estate developer Onyx and East has unveiled a $13 million luxury townhome development in Carmel. The Uptown at WestClay is set to hold its grand opening the first weekend in June.

    • Indy Dealership Owner Charged With Money Laundering

      An Indianapolis man is facing federal charges for allegedly laundering the proceeds of an international advance-fee scheme through his used car dealership. The U.S. Department of Justice says Tochukwu Nwosisi, the owner of Indyrides LLC, allegedly use the money for personal use and to purchase vehicles that were shipped to the scheme's perpetrators in Nigeria.

    • Despite Profit Increase, Shoe Carnival Predicts Store Closings

      Evansville-based Shoe Carnival Inc. (Nasdaq: SCVL) is reporting fiscal first quarter net income of $13 million, up from $8.2 million during the same period last year. Despite the increase, the company says it expects to close up to 25 stores throughout the fiscal year while adding three new locations.

    • Mecum Indy Auction Hits Record Sales

      The Mecum Auction's annual Original Spring Classic event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds set a record. The organization says overall sales grew 24 percent from the previous year, generating nearly $70 million. Mecum says 1,406 vehicles were sold at the auction with the highest-selling vehicle being a 2017 Ford GT that sold for $1.8 million.