With more and more people inhabiting the planet, it’s practically a certainty that humans will have to eat differently in the not so distant future. In fact, in a little bit over thirty years, the planet will have to find a way to double the entire food production to sustain the world population according to the UN. Some people are promoting eating insects, while others are trying to innovate with powdered food instead of regular sustenance.
The startup Farmshelf is taking a different approach and wants to build indoor farms that will let you grow lettuce and herbs all year long, no soil needed.
Sounds pretty amazing, right? This innovative idea and concept may very well change how America and the rest of the world will eat in the future.
The company from Brooklyn has already started selling their indoor farms and they’ve proven numerous times that their concept works. It’s not an idea or an innovation that we’ll only see years from now – you can buy one of these futuristic-looking farms right now.
At $7,000 a piece, the farmshelf is relatively affordable too.
The startup is focusing on restaurants, cafeterias and food halls at first, but the idea can certainly be implemented at home as well. It’s expected that the price of the farmshelves will go down eventually. The product is incredibly popular and business is blooming.
“We’re building the Lego blocks to grow food anywhere,” founder and CEO Andrew Shearer of the company said to Moneyish. “We’ve been called the Nespresso for lettuce; you literally put the plant pod in, and watch it grow.”
The lettuce and herbs can grow indoors and in any weather condition. In other words, no more dealing with a bad harvest.
How does the farmshelf work, you might ask? The company uses a technique called hydroponics. As the name suggests, the plants are grown in a water-based solution filled with nutrients that are required for their growth. There’s absolutely no need for soil and you no longer have to worry about growing out-of-season herbs anymore.
The indoor farm structure has room for over 50 crops.
The whole thing is comparable to a six-foot bookshelf and it actually manages to look nice as well. If needed, the farmshelf can also be adjusted to the wishes of the buyer with custom LED lighting, for example. The whole thing is also completely smart: you can check the status and health of your plants directly on the companion app. It’ll even let you know when you should harvest.
The shelf itself produces around 140 pieces of lettuce every month, along with no less than around ten pounds of herbs, such as basil. According to the company, this equals about $400 – $800 of produce worth. A monthly subscription is available which includes the nutrients and seeds and costs $105 – meaning you’ll still end up saving lots of money in the long run.
You’ll only need about half an hour each week for some basic chores such as adding water or providing the seed pots with the nutrient packages.
The best part? The produce grows much faster than they would in a regular field while using significantly less water.
“We’ve automated all the hardest parts of growing your food to enable people to grow their own food and enjoy it,” Shearer said, adding that the plants spring up two to three times faster than crops in a field would — and using 90% less water. “We can grow a full head of lettuce in 20 to 28 days, where it would take 60 in the field.”
Seven thousand dollars is still a hefty amount to pay for consumers and the size of the farmshelf is also too large for most families. However, the company is now hard at work to bring their indoor urban farming product into the home.
The company is planning to release a smaller $3,000 consumer version of the farmshelf, which should be available before 2020.
Aside from lettuce and herbs, this updated version will also be able to grow tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers.
In other words, this indoor farming project is just getting started, and it’s extremely exciting to see where this is headed.
The farmshelf may just be one of the innovative inventions that’ll really help to deal with food shortages and bad harvests. It’s also a great solution for people living in more rural areas or in places where the soil isn’t fertile. Growing food on shelves may just be a significant step towards a greener future.
Learn more in the video below.
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