Skip to comments.This innovative $7,000 ‘indoor farm’ may change how America eats forever
Posted on 09/15/2018 12:48:23 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Farmshelf, an indoor farm that lets you grow lettuce and herbs, is sprouting up at restaurants, corporate kitchens and food halls around the country
Farm-to-table is taking root in corporate offices.
Farmshelf, a Brooklyn-based startup, has begun selling indoor farm kits that grow food like lettuce and herbs using hydroponics a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. And the product is so popular that corporate cafeterias, restaurants and food halls around the U.S. are dropping $7,000 apiece to buy in.
Were building the Lego blocks to grow food anywhere, founder and CEO Andrew Shearer told Moneyish. Weve been called the Nespresso for lettuce; you literally put the plant pod in, and watch it grow.
Farmshelf looks like an open-air six-foot, four-inch bookshelf stacked with greenery that simply plugs into a wall. Users can choose to grow more than 50 crops, including baby lettuce and basil, on shelves fit with custom LED lights and a nutrient system. The corresponding Farmshelf app monitors how your plants are doing in real-time, and sends notifications when your produce is ready for harvest. Each Farmshelf unit costs $7,000, and can produce 10 pounds of herbs per week and 140 heads of lettuce per month, or $350 to $800 worth of produce each month. Farmers pay a $105 monthly subscription fee that includes nutrients and seed pods.
Weve 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.
Farmshelf takes users about 30 minutes a week to maintain. The indoor farming chores include filling it up with water, harvesting crops and planting the nutrients when needed.
And companies are digging the concept. American Express has ordered six units for its corporate cafeteria, and the Great Northern Food Hall in New York Citys Grand Central Station has planted the indoor farming unit where customers can see some of their ingredients, like basil, being grown. Celebrity chefs such as Jose Andres and Marcus Samuelsson also have them growing in their restaurants. And Shearer plans to make Farmshelf available to at-home users by the end of 2019, and offer more foods like tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. The cost for home growers is estimated at $3,000, and the model will likely include one Farmshelf mounted on a wall or countertop.
Systems like Farmshelf could make healthy food accessible to more people in areas where fresh fruit and vegetables and food, period are hard to come by. Hunger effects more than 1 billion people in the world, and food production will need to double by 2050 in order to meet the need for the worlds growing population, the United Nations estimates. Whats more, about 23.5 million people live in food deserts, or low-income, rural areas where a supermarket is more than 10 miles away. Shearer hopes to combat this epidemic.
Weve automated all of the hardest parts of growing your food to enable people to grow their own and enjoy it, Shearer said.
Of course, there are downsides: Some restaurants gripe that the system costs a lot of lettuce. West Coast-based salad company Tender Greens said that it spent 20% more by growing Farmshelf produce than it might have otherwise, after paying for the machine and maintenance. But its sticking with the system because it can grow veggies all year long, and not have to worry about importing out-of-season ingredients.
My goal has always been not to have to ship lettuce across the country, but to grow locally, Tender Greens co-founder Erik Oberholtzer told Moneyish. The benefit is having a reliable supply year-round so we can really scale these systems while continuing to support organic farmers.
While Farmshelf is making major headway in bringing farming to the masses, urban farming has been around for decades. Americans used urban farming techniques during the Great Depression and both World Wars to grow their own food. And more recently, former first lady Michelle Obama has done her part to champion for vegetable gardens in schools to help combat childhood obesity.
It was a good story till I read the last line.
If I had a large family to feed, I’d look into it. I wonder what kinds of seeds are used. Non-GMO would be a plus. It would be nice to have juicy sweet non-crunchy strawberries regularly.
I saw something like this two years ago with a German intervator. Greenhouse operation, hydroponics, some heat in the winter....you could grow 90-percent of your needs for vegetables and fruit.
The problem I saw was that you needed to devote man-hours to this each week. It wasn’t something you could just turn on and harvest four months later.
Woohoo- potato bugs, stink bugs, and cut worms year round in the house
or tomatoes- (can’t eat em anymore though sadly- stomach ulcers- love toasted tomato samiches- mayonaise, and loads of cracked black pepper- drooling just thinking of it
Grossly overstated as per the peddling/commercial sale of this overpriced toy. You're gonna feed a family of four out of that, huh?
Grains, legumes and meat make up a substantial portion of a healthy diet. Iceberg lettuce and most other lettuce for that matter, is satisfying for a short time but delivers few vitamins and minerals, and very little energy that a body needs.
I grew-up growing a garden and had one for most of my adult life. You have a stressful life? Get out there and do something useful that is also relaxing.......get your hands dirty and some dirt between your toes in a real garden which makes you appreciate life in all it's wonders.
You insist on living in a high density area without a vision of grass or trees or honest to goodness soil of the earth? Well, you get what you deserve.
Just reading the summary it just sounds like a hipsterish over commercialized drmed up version of regular hydroponics. Is there any actual new basic technology in here?
Weve been called the Nespresso for lettuce; you literally put the plant pod in, and watch it grow.
Grow all your food by taking advantage of this little-known, WEIRD trick...!!
(the big food companies HATE this..!)
(insert backlay watermark photo of woman with improbably large boobs)
Garden related enough?
Lettuce has very little nutritional value. This is a colossal waste of money.
It is quite limited, yet worth it for the right customer.
I think of it as a Model T of what is yet to come.
They should apply this technology to real-life Sea-Monkeys.
They should apply this technology to real-life Sea-Monkeys.
From the article comments...
No talk about the electricity costs. Outdoor greenhouses would be cheaper and have exists for a VERY long time if you want produce year round. Are the electricity costs in money and pollution saving transportation, especially if any real number of people do this? I doubt it.
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