Portlanders invent Lego-like blocks for gardens

Portlanders invent Lego-like blocks for gardens

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 5:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 5:40 AM

PORTLAND -- It's harvest time at Doug Holcomb's Northeast Portland home for squash, tomatoes and beans.  And by this time next year, he might be reaping a profit.

Holcomb is the co-founder of "TogetherFarm Blocks." This new invention functions like giant Legos, but the brick-sized blocks are made from recycled plastic and designed so people can build garden boxes without tools.

Holcomb and his business partners, Matt Stormont and Joe Aakre, came up with the idea while working on their MBAs at Concordia University.

"It's pretty amazing that no one else had thought of this before because it's so practical," said Holcomb. "The blocks don't require measuring or cutting and you can haul them in the back of your Mini Cooper if you want. Almost as easy as ‘just add water.’"

But first, TogetherFarm needs $75,000 to get the blocks manufactured. Holcomb and his partners created a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to try and help reach that goal.

"I think the TogetherFarm Blocks are a way to involve kids in the process of teaching them where our food comes from," said Holcomb.

Holcomb's 13-year-old niece, Annika Cook, agreed.

"Usually just the adults build the garden boxes," said Cook. "It's more fun when you can help, especially if it's going to be your own garden, because then you feel like you're more a part of it."

The prototype blocks are white, but the real blocks will be brown. Customers can choose other shades for an additional charge. TogetherFarm has already begun selling starter kits through Kickstarter in three sizes ranging in price from $35 for one-foot squares to $95 for 4-foot squares.

"They're modular so you can do any shape, any size that you want," said Holcomb. "Your imagination is the limit."

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