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Garden Entrepreneur takes idea to Kickstarter

A Pine River gardener has launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce his re-engineered idea about how raised-bed gardens can change the landscape for gardeners of all types.

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A Pine River gardener has launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce his re-engineered idea about how raised-bed gardens can change the landscape for gardeners of all types.

Ryan Hunt never saw himself becoming a gardener. He said he never had patience for the bending and kneeling and crouching involved in tending a garden. When he decided he needed a garden for his growing family, he knew he wanted raised beds.

He quickly learned, however, that raised-bed kits available on the market were expensive and usually not tall enough. Building his own beds out of rot-resistant wood wasn't much cheaper.

As an engineer at Hunt Utilities Group, he looked at alternative materials. After two years of experimenting, he settled on a circular design made of 25-year fabric with a strong, galvanized metal frame. The idea worked so well, he built a 48-bed walk-in garden, complete with trellises.

Then he started making them for others who admired his flourishing garden.

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Hunt's "Garden Circle" beds are 2 feet tall, take only minutes to install, and join together to create almost any design imaginable.

In addition to the full round beds, Hunt manufactures "add-ons."

"By attaching add-ons, the size and shape of the raised-bed garden is limitless," he said. "Whatever you can think of is pretty much possible."

Hunt has drawn up potential designs in the shape of a teddy bear and a heart and even one large community garden designed as an American flag.

Kickstarter campaigns are online crowd-funding efforts to help entrepreneurs and businesses get a start with their projects. In return for "pledges," funders receive rewards in the form of products.

Hunt's Kickstarter lets pledgers purchase garden beds for themselves or donate them to the American Community Garden Association. A $65 pledge will provide a Garden Circle for donation. A pledge of $75 will get a Garden Circle for personal use. A $10,000 pledge will fund an entire community garden, complete with soil and set-up.

Hunt sees his garden beds as particularly useful for community gardens, urban gardening and parking lot gardens. He said the beds make it cost-effective to create a garden on pavement or anywhere with sandy, rocky or poor soil conditions.

Hunt's Kickstarter campaign is not all about business. Or more accurately, he believes his business should also be about helping community.

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"Working with community gardens is a way we can help others take part in the joy of growing their own food," he said. "It helps individuals and communities become more resilient."

He said he's hoping for a long-term relationship with the American Community Garden Association to make Garden Circles a practical part of community gardens in the coming years.

Related Topics: PINE RIVER
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