By Hannah Lundquist —


The students at UW–Stout are very lucky: at some point in every student’s degree, they will have the option to take a course of their choosing that is only somewhat major related. Senior Rachel Bachmeier in the Graphic Design program had this very opportunity last semester. For her elective class she chose a packaging class.


One of the projects that she had in her class, in the middle of the semester, was to redesign a standard seed package. While some students in the class only designed the pouch for the seeds, Bachmeier ended up turning her new packaging design into a whole seed growing system, Hydro Herbs.


Hydro Herbs is a hydroponic herb growing system where herbs can grow indoors and in small spaces. It works by pulling up nutrient rich water through a wick to the soil.


“I wanted something small that could be placed in a windowsill and would just start growing itself,” said Bachmeier.


Most hydroponic systems are huge and are usually for a multitude of plants rather than just one single plant.


Right away she had interested parties wanting to buy this new mini hydroponics system. She says that she immediately started working on ideas about how to make it a reality and be able to make more Hydro Herbs for people. With help from her professor and a fellow designer, she came up with a plan to Kick-start the idea during winter break. Right now the Kickstarter has just a couple more weeks to go, and currently there are eighty-seven people backing the project. The Hydro Herb backers will be set to go with a kit to get them started so they will not need to find their own seeds, all they need to do is take it out of the package. The Hydro Herb containers are completely reusable and the only thing that needs to be done is to keep buying herb seeds once the first ones are grown.


The amount of money pitched in towards the project determines what you get and also what it is that you can have access to. For example, if a person were to pledge one dollar they would have access to a “behind the scenes” look at things; if they pledge eleven dollars they will receive one herb container, and forty-four dollars will get you a four pack of Hydro Herbs. Some of these will be completed and shipped in May, and the second batch will be completed by September and shipped then.


When the Kickstarter date has come and gone, the site will still be there and the Herbs will be able to be viewed, the site just will say that the project has been funded.


Bachmeier plans to continue to write posts on the site about the progress of the project and what she is working on as she gets closer to finishing up. Bachmeier worked with the Stout Sustainability Office to make sure that the design was something that would work well and was using the right materials to be a success. She says that most of the pledging started with family and friends, but has since moved out towards people as far away as California. People all over the world can see the project if they use the Discover feature on the Kickstarter website.


Bachmeier has interest in keeping the project going after she graduates and has been looking into some ways to make that happen. Some of the projects on Kickstarter have been very successful and have turned into large money making businesses. If she keeps the project going, she hopes to make the project have some more rewards with it, hopefully with some things that will give back to the community.


All together this project that started out in the classroom has gone on to become a much bigger success than Bachmeier had thought it would be. There is still time left to pledge money for the Kickstarter to get your own Hydro Herbs.


The project can be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hydroherbs/hydro-herbs.


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