Summer Fellowship Feature: LEVO International

Levo International is composed of a team of industry experts, from their product development team who are experienced engineers and scientists, to students from the University of Connecticut in the departments of MIS and Engineering. Levo’s science team is led by Nate Heiden, a Phd candidate at Ohio State in Plant Pathology and  Levo’s founder is Christian Heiden who is a student at UConn and is the project lead for Summer Fellowship. 


Levo International came about because the Boy Scouts thought that the founder Christian Heiden’s Eagle Scout proposal was too ambitious. Christian had proposed the construction of a hydroponic greenhouse for an agency operating in Haiti, but the costs and risks associated with the project were outside what the Boy Scouts thought were prudent. Undeterred, Christian completed his Eagle Scout project building a greenhouse for his high school and then set out to do what he had always wanted to do. With the help of his parents and brothers, a plan was put together and executed to begin to bring sustainable food supply to the most desperately poor country in the Western hemisphere. Thanks to the willing participation and support of Many Hands for Haiti, Christian, Bill and Nate Heiden built a demonstration greenhouse in July of 2016 on the Many Hands compound in Pignon, Haiti. A new team of young people joined the effort and in 2017 eight hydroponic farming units were installed, starting the pilot of the Babylon system. Levo International became a formal non-profit organization in 2017. 


Levo has developed a distributed model of hydroponic farming which was designed to be affordable for families in Haiti. Levo’s Babylon system and Patio Garden are compact and simplified hydroponic units. They allow for high density and high yield without the need for soil and the majority of water required for traditional agriculture. Levo’s Babylon is designed for developing countries and the Patio Garden is designed to finance the Babylon systems in Haiti. The Patio system is a solar version of the Babylon system and simplifies the growing process for urban and suburban gardeners. It saves the need to weed and prepare the soil, using only 5-10 minutes of an owners day. 


By the conclusion of the Summer Fellowship, Levo expects to be expanding its operations both in the United States and Haiti. They are preparing for a scale-up of our facilities in Haiti and begin the process of building out our staff and team. Summer Fellowship is allowing Levo to fine-tune its brand, business model, as well as continuing our U.S. product development which will allow us to begin to reach out to donors and organizations for support in our mission. 


“Levo does the work it does because it recognizes the level of poverty that people face all over the world. It began because we realized we had the opportunity to develop a technology which would allow us to feed millions of people all around the globe, and Levo’s team is devoted to ending world hunger.” -Christian Heiden