Hiranga Goonawardena and Ashini de Alwis are registered architects (ARBV), experienced in city-changing public infrastructure, both local and abroad.

    They are both passionate about sustainable and purposeful human-centric design, built to bring joy and last multiple generations in contrast to disposable, consumer culture prevalent in modern society.

    They share a breadth of knowledge across urban planning strategy, material science, design, urban agriculture, and deep technology, as well as a passion for tackling the broader challenges we face as a global society against Climate Change. Their practice and observations over 20+ years in multi-disciplinary design has made them sensitive to the increasing social inequity, waste and consumption of precious finite resources, while displacing nature and habitat in the design and function of our cities.

    This has been a key driver for Hiranga and Ashini's recent actions in co-founding Earthli; a Victorian Climate Impact startup with a mission to make our food systems more sustainable and resilient by helping urban dwellers confidently and conveniently grow their own food, regardless of space, time and experience. Earthli's vision is to foster a generation of changemakers, connected across our cities, helping to cut food waste and emissions while supporting nature in the process.

    What activities will the Creators Fund support you to undertake?

    The Creators Fund Grant allows us to research, design and develop the hardware for Project Grow, a novel consumer product that aims to empower city dwellers to grow part of their own food sustainably, whilst supporting biodiversity in dense urban environments. We will be researching and testing innovative materials and local manufacturing technologies to divert everyday plastic waste from Victorian households and minimise the environmental footprint of our end product. We will also be applying human-centered design principles in combination with manufacturing techniques to fit into new and existing households and modern urban lifestyles.

    Can you talk us through what your work routine will look like with the help of a creator's fund grant?

    Our work routine will involve iterative product design and prototyping, including; research and testing of materials made from recycled waste; testing of potential manufacturing techniques; development of a knowledge base to support our users; research and presentation of environmental impact from growing food and use of our future product (ie. food miles saved, plastic packaging avoided and recycled, increase in the nutritional value of local food); and documentation of the design process.

    Where would you like to see yourself and your career at the end of this process?

    We see our former expertise as design architects expanding further into the multi-disciplinary fields of knowledge that both of us have cultivated so far. We see this as a very natural, though challenging progression of our professional careers. Our vision is to generate positive and lasting environmental, social, and therefore cultural impact on the way our cities perform. Architecture can help realise this aspiration, however it isn't accessible to the many, which is where Project Grow has evolved from; to retrofit and transform our busy urban lifestyles to be part of the solution. We hope our endeavors now, can form the foundation of much larger impacts with the growing support and awareness of bolder communities working together.