When Dylan Soh was just 11 years old, he presented a TEDx Talk in Singapore on the future of urban farming and sustainable cities. And by the time he was 13, he had raised $25,000 on Kickstarter for his first invention, the ‘GIYstick,’ which “reuses bottles and fabric to make any pot self-watering.” Now, still just 17 years old, Dylan Soh is back with an even bigger goal. He recently launched another product called the One Kind Block, a LEGO-like hydroponic system that aims to make cities fertile and self-sufficient. Soh wants to raise $105,000 this time. And with just a few days left in the campaign, he has $75,000 of it to go. 

With over 60 percent of the human population living in big cities, crises like Covid-19 are exposing the cracks in agricultural systems. Soh was experiencing these challenges first-hand. He said that his favorite herbs and vegetables in his local supermarket were suddenly becoming absent. So Dylan Soh had one question: “Is there a way to make cities sustainable and provide people with a new, convenient way to cultivate crops from the comfort of their own homes?”

On a mission to find an answer, Soh came up with the idea for the One Kind Block. And he estimates just five units of them could help yield around 50 percent of one person’s vegetable needs. The only requirement for the One Kind Block to support plant growth is light. So with just a window exposed to sunlight, users can have their own home-grown agricultural systems, Soh says.

Read more at The Rising (Lauren Beauban)