Power 4 Detroit

Last winter we started a replicable, clean energy initiative by building a small solar panel for a hoop house at the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI). Now we look to prove out scalability. This stage will provide a blueprint for other like initiatives to follow the MUFI lead!

We are running this campaign to fund the purchase and installation of additional solar panels and the expansion of the on-site battery bank. This will power the hoop houses dual-layer air blower, the environmental monitoring system and provide power for additional requirements MUFI may have as they build out the hoop house to its full potential.

We can’t do it without your participation. Help us make a difference by donating $5, $10, or whatever you can… and help SPREAD THE WORD! :)


HAPI to Host Urban Agriculture Classes at CIF

The HAPI Program will be offering urban agriculture classes this spring at the Columbus Idea Foundry. The Urban Agriculture Series with HAPI will include 5 classes that together span hydroponic food production, waste-stream management and environment monitoring with Arduino technology.

Each of the hydroponic classes will focus on a specific growing technique in which the class will work together to create a single system to produce food. Each system will be donated to a local charity focused on food access in the Columbus-area.

The Black Soldier Fly Larvae class will get into the truly gross potential of using these creatures to substantially reduce our organic waste-stream.

Sensing Your Environment will teach students how to use various environmental sensors along with the Arduino Mega board and HAPI software platform to create a stream of actionable data in real-world growing environments.

Each class cost $75 except environmental sensing which costs $105 and includes requisite equipment that students will take home. Students can sign up for all 5 classes and save $100. Dates and times are as follows:

  • April 2, 6:30-10:00PM – Flood and Drain Systems
  • April 7, 6:30-10:00PM – Wastestream Bioconversion with Black Soldier Fly Larvae
  • April 23, 6:30-10:00PM – Nutrient Film Technique
  • April 28, 6:30-10:00PM – Sensing Your Environment
  • May 14, 6:30-10:00PM – Vertical Aeroponic Systems

Learn more about these urban agriculture classes on the CIF website or go directly here to sign-up.


HAPI v2.0 Firmware Released For Testing

The HAPI program is announcing the v2.0 Alpha release of its core automation firmware code. The release brings a real-world capable platform that boasts flexibility and scalability. “This release will provide extended capabilities to urban farms and hydroponic growers.” stated HAPI founder Tyler Reed. “The version 1 code was pretty experimental and it took a fair bit of end-user techno-savvy to get it to tick. This version is much easier to work with.” The v2.0 improves the maturity of the overall technical platform. It includes a number of features that extend its usability and make HAPI systems easy to implement. This release is targeted at a technical user-base and does require some basic knowledge of Arduino technology to implement.

Firmware Features:

  • Built-in Support for temperature and humidity sensors (DHT-22, DS18B20, thermistors)
  • Built-in Level Control Library (simplifies controlling water, temperature, humidity, etc.)
  • Expanded Communications Support including Cellular, Ethernet, WiFi and USB
  • Built-in Support for level sensors (Milone, HAPI DIY)
  • Default State Management (Initial states for pumps, lights and other assets are user-managed)
  • Robust Command Language allows manual control of automated assets
  • Easily Customized and Extended

Release v2.0 sets the foundation for a number of advanced capabilities will be rolled out over 2015. These include AI-based power management and automated control of growing environments based on crop type. The new version of the automation firmware code is available on from the HAPI SourceForge repository. Additions to the code base are being rolled out through the end of January 2015.

HAPI is an open source software and design project and everyone is encouraged to participate. Our goal is to create useful tools that transform the food system and make advanced food production and processing technologies available and accessible for everyone.


HAPI Selected to Present at Columbus SOUP

Winter ’14 SOUP: Crowdfunding Local Food From the GrassRoots Up

The HAPI project has been selected to present at the upcoming grassroots crowdfunding event, Winter ’14 SOUP. Columbus SOUP creates dynamic and democratic spaces for community engagement, participation, and investment, through crowdfunding events and projects. It provides a platform to share innovative ideas at the ground level and make connections that matter.

Every quarter, a select group of Columbus-area businesses, non-profits, projects and individuals are given the opportunity to present at a themed SOUP event. Attendees pay a $7 minimum donation for dinner and a vote to fund projects. This quarter the event is themed on community gardens and HAPI was selected as one of the presenters. Whichever project gets the most votes takes home the entire pot of donations.

That means WE NEED YOU to open your front door and head over Winter ’14 SOUP on January 12th. If HAPI wins, we will put every dollar into our ongoing KickStarter campaign. So come. Bring a friend. Bring two friends. (and your dad……)

RSVP HAPI Winter '14 Soup


Event Information

Date: January 12th
Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Gateway Film Center, 1550 North High Street, Columbus OH




KickStarter Campaign Launched!

The HAPI team is thrilled to announce the launch of our KickStarter Campaign!

We’ve worked hard over the past year to make the HAPI initiative real by generating innovative ideas, products and technologies. The first version of the HAPI automation platform is in its final test phase and we designed and built an awesome vertical system that is now into its first grow cycle. We’re working with some great high school kids as they explore and invent new ways to monitor their aquaponic greenhouse and we developed and released educational content for an introductory hydroponics class. The content has already been used to teach multiple classes. We’ve developed a Smart Power Management system, now in beta testing, that will provide food producers with the ability to minimize their energy consumption while maximizing yield. Most importantly, we’ve formed strong relationships not only within the team but with individuals and groups in our communities that share our vision for transforming the global food system.

We did all of this in just one year, as unpaid volunteers, funded largely from our own pockets. Now we’re ready to take it to the next level and we’re asking you to join us in realizing the HAPI vision.

We have launched a KickStarter Campaign with the intent of crowd-funding urban food production centers that will produce healthy, organic food for their communities. The centers will use both traditional and HAPI-developed grow systems and will feature the remote-control and automation capabilities of the HAPI automation platform. The centers will NOT be owned by us, they will be owned and operated by the communities in which they are located. As the HAPI team is a distributed group of volunteers, we will need to partner with people and organizations near the centers to provide day-to-day operational support. Different centers will have different requirements but the approximate scale of any center will be around $10,000 in systems cost. The owners/operators will need to provide the space and utilities. We will provide the grow systems, automation/monitoring/remote-control platform, site design, staff management software, start-up operations guidance and the necessary support to get every center operating at its maximum potential.

So how can your community get a crowd-funded food production center? Contribute to the KickStarter campaign! Everyone who contributes gets to vote on where we should locate the centers. Doesn’t matter if you  contribute $1 or $10,000, everyone gets 1 vote. So organizations, groups, entire communities can get together and vote for their own location. But just amassing votes doesn’t guarantee  a center, we also have to reach funding goals. We set a low goal on the campaign, just under $15,000. This pays the costs of the campaign and provides some revenue crucial for the continuation and expansion our current activities. For every $10,000 reached above the campaign goal, we will build another center. So, for example, if the KickStarter campaign raises $40,000 above the goal, we’ll build 4 sites. The 4 sites would be constructed in the 4 locations that get the most votes. Note that you can vote for any location, so if you and your friends want to sponsor a center in a blighted neighborhood across the country, that’s totally up to you!

In 2010, I found myself asking, “How can the food system be transformed? How can we shift from large-scale production of food grown using questionable methods and substantial amounts of fuel and chemicals, to a local production model where the values of the community dictate the means and methods used.” The HAPI project was created out of strong desire to provide solutions to these problems. We’re ready, are you?



Hydroponics Class in Columbus, November 19th

If You Plant It, It Will Grow

Building on the momentum and positive feedback from our first hydroponics class, we are offering it again in November. Introduction to Hydroponics will be offered November 19th from 6:30pm – 9:30pm EST. Attendees will learn the basics of hydroponic food production and develop their skills in constructing different types of systems.  The class is hosted at the Columbus Idea Foundry and is open to the public. Curriculum for the class is publicly available through the HAPI online learning management system, so the class will be very hands-on and interactive.

Hydroponic ImageThe first of a larger sequence of educational offerings around hydroponics and aquaponics, the class will familiarize students with the basic concepts of hydroponic food production and introduce them to common techniques and tools of the trade. Topics for discussion will include planning, lighting, growth and structures, environment, hygiene and foundational operating principles. For much of the class, students will participate in building systems that embody different core techniques in modern hydroponic production. All tools and materials will be provided in this immersive class and students will very likely get wet.

Class registration can be completed on the Columbus Idea Foundry’s Classes page.


Getting HAPI About Global Food Security

Food Security – A HAPI Perspective

The respected blog, Global Food Security, has published an article by HAPI founder Tyler Reed. It describes how local, sustainable food production techniques like those being developed and promoted by the HAPI project can be used to mitigate production constraints that impact specific regions, communities and cultures. Reed argues that “Small-scale, distributed production using flexible hydroponic and aquaponic techniques is an essential element of any truly robust food production strategy.”

Global Food Security logoThe Global Food Security blog publishes a range of views about food security issues from a diverse set of authors. Contributors include academics, policy makers, farmers and end-users. Check out the entire article here.

First Hydroponics Class in Columbus, Ohio

HAPI team members Tyler Reed and Brian Kleinke will be offering an Introduction to Hydroponics class on October 2nd from 6:30pm – 9:30pm EST. The class is a next step in the HAPI project’s new education and outreach program, following on the heels of our engagement with East Hickman High School. Attendees will learn the basics of hydroponic food production and develop their skills in constructing different types of systems.  The class is hosted at the Columbus Idea Foundry and is open to the public. Curriculum being developed for the class will form part of the foundational content for the HAPI Learning Environment, and online educational initiative slated for rollout later this year. Kleinke said “Education in the area of self-directed food production is increasingly important in our community, especially now.”

workshop_imageThe first of a larger sequence of educational offerings around hydroponics and aquaponics, the class will familiarize students with the basic concepts of hydroponic food production and introduce them to common techniques and tools of the trade. Topics for discussion will include planning, lighting, growth and structures, environment, hygiene and foundational operating principles. For much of the class, students will participate in building systems that embody different core techniques in modern hydroponic production. All tools and materials will be provided. “This will be an immersive class, ” stated Reed, “very hands-on. One of our goals is to establish an ongoing workshop, a ‘workshopping’ if you will. A place where principles like community involvement and product innovation are used to foster greater food security and local independence.”

Class registration can be completed on the Columbus Idea Foundry’s Classes page.


HAPI Project Kicks Off Hydroponic Education Program

HAPI team brings multi-dimensional educational opportunities to the high school classroom

The HAPI Project has announced a collaboration effort with the East Hickman High School to build an environment monitoring system to provide near real time information about the growing conditions inside the school’s teaching greenhouse to assure the plants and fish are well cared for.

A recent electrical problem caused an air pump failure which led to the loss of nearly all of the fish the students raised for an end of year fish fry.  “The pump failure took place on a Sunday afternoon; so no one knew about the problem until Monday and by then it was too late. According to David Flowers, the instructor over the greenhouse facility, “It happened after a daily check, and only took a few hours before the fish started dying.”  In the summer months the greenhouse is only checked once a day.

HAPI team member, Mark Miller who lives near the school heard of the fish kill and told Flowers about the HAPI efforts.  “There was a perfect fit.  Simple technology, the need and the academic setting,” said Miller.  A brief discussion, a few phone calls to supervisors, some enthusiastic feedback from students and the project was born.

Students will design the monitoring system based on what information they need to operate their facility.  They will learn about the capabilities and recent trends in computer and electronics towards making it yourself. They will build, install and program the system with the help of the HAPI team.

The Hydroponic Automation Platform Initiative (HAPI) team is focused on developing and sharing low-cost techniques and technologies for precision agriculture.  A major part of the HAPI effort is education.  “The high school greenhouse is the perfect opportunity to share HAPI technology”, said Tyler Reed, the founder of the HAPI project.  The project is Open Source, Open Hardware and the open and free sharing of information is the heart of the philosophy.


The greenhouse at East Hickman high school

The hardware required to implement the system at the greenhouse is being provided to the school free of charge.  A grant from Corpal, Inc., a Nashville-based HAPI supporter is providing the computer, the sensors and the various components needed.  The school is providing low-voltage wiring and the labor to install the system.

“A commercial solution is cost prohibitive, so HAPI is a great fit for us. The HAPI team has the expertise to ensure our efforts are successful.  While the technology is not cutting edge it is new and unknown to us.  HAPI will participate in the educational program to inform students about key technologies. It’s not enough to put a system in place and walk away. Not when we can also teach the kids what the system does, why it’s needed and how it works. It opens up the educational possibilities of the greenhouse.

In addition to teaching the biology, chemistry and agriculture sides we can now provide the opportunity for hands on learning about programming, electronics, networking and data communications. There are a number of past students operating their own greenhouses and trying to make a living. This type of knowledge could be invaluable to them and their success. “If we can stimulate just one kid to pursue a latent interest in science or engineering; then we have succeeded as educators,” said Flowers.

Flowers summarized with, “We’re thrilled to have HAPI as an extension of our greenhouse and our educational capability. We don’t have the expertise, yet, to teach the computer and electronics side, but with the HAPI team as a guest in our classroom we are learning. It’s an excellent project for a school to be involved with.”

Smart Power Management

HAPI to Add Smart Power Management to Automation Platform

HAPI has announced a collaboration with researchers at the Technical University of Kosice to develop smart power management capabilities for food production facilities. The collaboration will create a robust and flexible framework for optimizing and protecting the energy footprint of such sites.

HAPI founder Tyler Reed stated: “Power management is foundational to what the HAPI project is building. On the food side, there is a huge diversity in appliances and processes that require electricity. Artificial lighting itself can present a substantial challenge as far as control and scheduling are concerned. Then there are water pumps, nutrient pumps, pH dosing pumps, air pumps, computers and control systems, monitoring equipment and more all bringing their own unique energy requirements to the picture. On the power side, energy producers can charge for their product in various ways. Rates can be based on peak usage, time-of-day usage, flat rates, etc. Developing a capability that can handle this level of complexity is incredibly important to us if HAPI is going to be relevant for large-scale food producers.”

Enter researchers at the Technical University of Kosice in Slovakia. Martin Pala, an artificial intelligence expert at the university, explained how his team would create a solution. “This is essentially an optimization problem. The different devices in a production facility all have timing requirements and energy consumption levels, while the cost and availability of power can vary over time. Our team is using artificial intelligence techniques such as fuzzy systems and genetic algorithms to create an adaptive, intelligent power management function. The system will account for alternative energy approaches as well, where factors like weather, wind and sunlight can impact the availability of energy.”

The power management suite is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013.

HAPI is short for Hydroponic Automation Platform Initiative.  By pro­vid­ing automa­tion mod­ules and struc­tural designs, a clean seed net­work and a best prac­tice knowledge base, HAPI will dra­mat­i­cally lower the bar­ri­ers to high-yield, sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion to indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties across the planet. For more information visit http://hapihq.com.