Project Info
Climate Change 2017
Honorable Mention
Project Overview

Graindrop is a nature-inspired systems design solution that empowers communities to transform gray-water and organic waste into food. The big idea is to enable communities adapt to climate change impacts by designing bottom-up systems that address the twin challenges of water scarcity and food insecurity forecast for a planet on the tipping point. It is estimated that by 2025, growing water use and higher temperatures will lead to increased water stress and impact agricultural productivity. In an increasingly urbanized planet, water scarcity and food insecurity due to climate change will critically impact urban populations. Graindrop seeks to address the problem by transforming organic waste into food, thus creating resilient food systems in local communities. Inspired by marine benthic communities that recycle organic nutrients throughout the aquatic food chain, Graindrop is a closed-loop nutrient recycling system that collects gray-water and organic waste from homes and diverts this ‘waste’ to a local network of urban bio-swales. The ‘waste’ from homes is the nutrient rich ‘food’ source for bio-swales where natural composting processes transform organic waste into valuable fertilizer. This organic fertilizer is used by urban farms to grow fresh, organic produce available to the local community. By tapping into a neglected urban resource – organic waste and greywater – Graindrop is the catalyst that transforms ‘waste’ into a virtuous cycle of resource regeneration that enables community engagement, ensures resilient food systems and revitalises ecosystems to bring back nature into the urban landscape.

Team Members

Siyi Chen, Sukruti Gupta, Gourab Kar

Cornell University
New York, United States, Ithaca