Fishers-based Aggressively Organic took home top honors at last month’s Food+City Challenge Prize competition at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The startup, which creates hydroponic, micro-growth chamber technology to grow produce, won $10,000 after being named a Challenge Prize and People’s Choice winner.
Aggressively Organic became the first company in the four-year history of the competition to win both awards. The company was one of 15 finalists in the competition out of nearly 100 applicants. The goal of this year’s competition was to present solutions to address issues in the country’s food supply chain.
The company uses hexagon-shaped chambers made from corrugated cardboard that contain a small pod, about the size of a K-cup, that can grow various types of produce with just a small amount of water. Founder Jonathan Partlow says the chamber only needs to hold about 16 ounces of water that needs to be refilled every 30 to 60 days, depending on the plant.
"Representing Indiana and taking part in the Food+City competition at SXSW was such an incredible, humbling experience," said Partlow. "We made invaluable connections and competed against talented companies that are working toward a similar goal and mission as us, which is to end food insecurity in our lifetime. We are fortunate to receive this recognition and are thrilled about the future opportunities these awards present."
Partlow says he plans to stay close to the sustainable agriculture scene in Austin by participating in MassChallenge Texas, which takes place in August and gives businesses the opportunity to win a portion of up to $500,000 in equity-free grants. He adds the company will use a portion of its SXSW winnings to provide an incubation space for other MassChallenge participants.
Aggressively Organic originally started at Launch Fishers. Last month, the company opened a 40,000-square-foot facility in the Hamilton County city with plans to hire a small number of employees.