Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Solution name.

The BreathingCart

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

BreathingCart is a vegetable cart for Indian Street Vendors to sell unplucked hydroponic plants to improve the preservation of farm produce, and increase hygiene and enhance their lifestyle. 

What specific problem are you trying to solve?

The Breathing Cart is a Vegetable Cart for Street Vendors to sell hydroponic vegetables (growing plants without soil) that enhance significantly improve the preservation of farm produce, and increase street vendors' profitability by stabilizing price fluctuations, and hygiene for the consumer. Selling unplucked hydroponic plants allows people to buy fresh growing plants, and for marginalized communities buying hydroponics will be like a one-time purchase for their food/vegetables. The biggest problem for street vendors is the produce going bad in the temperatures outside and their produce is wasted, and the vendor is unable to make any profit, so this cart increases the shelf life, freshness, and profitability. Also, the hydroponic cups act as a catalyst and create alternate job opportunities for the marginalized, such as the vendor's spouse.

Elevator pitch

What is your solution?

The Breathing Cart: A Vegetable Cart for Indian Street Vendors which enhances their lifestyle, and hygiene, and selling unplucked hydroponics plants acts as a catalyst and creates alternate-job opportunities for the marginalized, possibly the vendor's spouse

This Cart increases the shelf life and freshness of the produce through Insulation and Damp Compartments.

Hydroponics (growing plants without soil)will now allow consumers to buy Growing fresh plants and allow the consumer to grow them in their houses afterward. The hydroponic cups will be biodegradable which will be recycled paper and sawdust which creates alternate job opportunities for unemployed and marginalized people most likely for the vendor’s spouse, so very minimal water is required.

Damp and moisture Compartment - Some vegetables require moisture to stay fresh most vendors regularly sprinkle the surface with water instead. This compartment will have an ultrasonic mist humidifier which is cheap and can run over 10 hours daily

The dry and dark compartment - will be a low-cost transparent grid container with double insulating panes which reduce heat transfer while giving complete visibility to buyers.

There’s a seat on the side of the cart with holes for airflow and comfort. So they can sit comfortably which eliminates germs from the footpath and is aesthetically pleasing.

The Cart increases profitability and creates job opportunities for their spouses and enhances the hygiene and lifestyle of the Vendor

Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Hydroponics uses one-third of the water as compared to normal agriculture, currently, more than 70 percent of freshwater is used for traditional agriculture (acc. FAO) but if we use hydroponics we would only be using 23 percent of freshwater

With more than 90 percent of the population in India in the informal sector and with unstable incomes, almost all vendors reduce their prices when their produce goes bad to sell it off but this cart allows more uniformity in their prices as hydroponics basically lasts as long as they have some water and nutrients / as long as they have some maintenance.

According to the WHO roadside food/vegetables have many toxic chemicals from pollution and dust etc. so covering the produce increases hygiene and decreases the risk of your produce carrying toxic chemicals by a landslide

The hydroponics will be sold fresh and growing so buyers can continue to grow them at home and for people in poverty it helps them have a sustainable constant source for some type of nutrition

There are estimated to be around 10 Million Indian street vendors and more than a billion street merchants across the globe with varying incomes and fields for what they are selling. (I have personally visited several street vendor marketplaces from metropolitan areas (In India most street vendors are mostly found selling open roadsides and under train stations) to rural areas to observe and understand them.)

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

I have developed the prototype and used it in the local communities. Received user feedback and am working on a supplementary product to keep the vegetables at home for a longer time.

I have also been awarded the Winner of Young Pioneer of the Year 2022 by IET (Institution of Engineering Technology ) for my innovation Breathing Cart

The Breathing Cart has also been featured in IEEE by IET(IEE)

The National Innovation Foundation of India by the Department of Science and Technology of India also selected The Breathing Cart for Inspire award and granted INR 10000 for further technology development of The Breathing Cart.

I have also done several courses on design thinking, centrality, and Artifacts with several innovations for which I have been awarded.

This summer I did some research at IARI ( Indian Agricultural Research Institute) in the field of biology and gained lots of knowledge about crops with first-hand experience.

What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

I have visited several street vendor marketplaces from metropolitan areas (In India most street vendors are mostly found selling on the streets and under the train station beside the open roadsides) to rural areas to observe and understand them.

I received user feedback and am working on a supplementary product so the buyers can take the hydroponics home live and continue to grow them.

Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Other: Addressing an unmet social, environmental, or economic need not covered in the four dimensions above.

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community

In what city, town, or region is your solution team located?

New Delhi, Delhi, India

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Rayna Borah

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

This is a new concept for selling hydrophobic vegetables by street vendors. Currently, there are no competitors in the market selling hydroponics on the streets, and selling live unplucked hydroponics is also a completely new concept. The advantages of selling unplucked live hydroponics allow customers to grow them at home and are an ever-growing source of food and significantly improve the preservation of farm produce.

What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

By next year I hope at least one hundred family start using unplucked hydroponic plants at their home, using single plants average of one month or more. To achieve this will reach out to vendors to use and distribute hydroponic carts at some central locations to attract people. 

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Hydrophonic unplucked vegetables in the cart increase the self-life of vegetables by several weeks from the usual 2-3 days. It does not use land and can be carried in a cart for weeks just by adding some nutrient water.

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Biotechnology / Bioengineering
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India

How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

Currently, we have served our local community with around 15 families 

By next year I hope that 10 street vendors can have a breathing cart and serve their customers and many families especially the marginalized will grow the live hydroponic plants in their homes as an ever-growing source of food. 

What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

The disadvantage is reaching the street vendors, who are scattered and unaware of this new approach.

Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?


How long have you been working on your solution?

around 2 years

What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

BreathingCart has been evaluated by several organizations including I&T(IEE), featured in IEEE explore, National Innovation Foundation – Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.

Business Model

What is your business model?

The cart will cost around USD 100 in India. Licensing and strategic partnerships will be the main sources of revenue.

I will provide the vendors with a unique id which will have all the information about the Cart, Vendor, updates, etc. and they can access it all from their phone Hydroponics will act as a Connection between the vendor and the Producer through an IT System

Hydrophonic leafy vegetables inside a street vendor cart like a mini greenhouse on the Street. Different buyers and users including vendors, and farmers will be connected through a centralized IT system, to buy as well as supply chain information. The system will generate information like top-selling vegetables, vendor analytics through a subscription model, and information and updates.

What is your path to financial sustainability?

The cart has been already published at various leading international forums, which gives credibility to using the cart. 

Being a high school student, my present focus is to participate in various competitions which may provide seed funds till I can take a more rigorous approach to take it to a larger audience. 

Solution Team

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