Our story begins with Dylan Ratigan, a New York Times Best-Selling author, sustainability entrepreneur and the former host of MSNBC’s highest-rated, non-prime time show. While at MSNBC, Dylan interviewed US Combat Veterans on a regular basis. Through these interviews he met Michael Hanes and Liz Peres (pictured on The Dylan Ratigan Show). [Click here for the full interview on the beginnings of Helical Outpost™]
Mike Hanes is a force reconnaissance Marine who witnessed first hand the devastations of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and was horrified by the lack of basic needs such as food, water, electricity and education as a result of the war. His insight and powerful message, “Sustainability Is Security,” inspired Dylan to reconsider his path in life and his potential to help solve this fundamental world crisis.
Dylan realized he could do more than report the world’s problems on television; he could create solutions. He could find ways to reduce global insecurity and turn food deserts into fertile ground. He could collaborate with the problem-solvers and innovators across the country and make a difference.
So Dylan resigned from MSNBC to create Helical Holdings.
His mission: To establish a company that can deploy returning combat veterans to help reduce domestic and global resource scarcity, and to create the standardized equipment and tools to help them get it done.
His partner: Kohlie Frantzen, a Louisiana attorney who grew up in the oil industry and shares the same vision for re-thinking existing challenges through new technologies.
Dylan and Kohlie completed a hydroponics program in Southern California, met with veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and learned everything they could about sustainability. They discovered three key findings:
1. There is tremendous goodwill to employ veterans, teach children, and provide basic resources for communities. The barrier to converting this goodwill into jobs, education, resources and stability is a standardized, reliable, integrated, resource system, and a stable economic model for every stakeholder.
2. We can build standardized equipment that creates the economic model by cross-pollinating the energy industry and the agriculture industry.
3. Technological advancements allow us to integrate agriculture, power, water, communications and educational systems to employ veterans and provide for communities.
Introducing the Helical Outpost™, a sustainable, integrated hydroponic greenhouse and power station with satellite Internet access and a water filtration system that creates up to 2,000 gallons of clean water a day, 11 kilowatt hours of commercial grade solar power and 2,300 crop units per week.
The Outpost’s hydroponic farm uses 80% less water, 90% less land and produces the equivalent of as much as 3 acres of organic farm soil in as little as 5,000 square feet. All of these resources unpack from a shipping container with plug and play capabilities that can be easily deployed anywhere in the world.
The Helical Outpost™ breaks down barriers and provides access to resources and information. Its mission is to create jobs for returning veterans; teach students at universities and schools about science, technology, engineering and math; help provide resources to people around the world; and help communities across the U.S. that lack access to local fruits and vegetables.
The Outpost is delivered and installed in Berryville, VA this summer to our first customer, Patriot Farmers of America.
The Outpost in action at the school where it was developed, two hours west of New Orleans in Lafayette, Louisiana. In addition to providing resources for the community, it has turned into an education hub to teach children and help feed families.
“The global thirst for sustainable systems is massive and extends far beyond Helical Holdings and the Helical Outpost™. Last spring I attended the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) in Dubai. The Mandate for the conference was to show how innovation gives us the only real chance of feeding the world without destroying the environment. While driving north of 100mph through the Middle East, my Emirati taxi driver Davos forced me to rethink America as a “superpower.” I told him the world’s first true superpower will be the country that creates meaningful work and shared prosperity for its citizens and the world, by implementing durable distributed grid resource systems that can be delivered anywhere in the world — with the push of a button. After all, that’s what brought people from around the world to Dubai. This is what Helical Holdings and the Helical Outpost™ are working towards. We need your help, your innovation, your compassion and your entrepreneurship.”
– Dylan Ratigan