For the average city dweller, fresh food is an exotic luxury that usually costs more than packaged fare. Most urban flats are not blessed with extensive land for personal agriculture, after all. Even if they were, the knowledge and attentiveness required to grow delicious produce is fast disappearing from public consciousness. Nanofarm might be the answer.
This glass-fronted device removes every last drop of effort from the cultivation process, tending your chosen crop without the need for outside assistance. It even has artificial lighting, meaning the dingiest basement can become an underground allotment.
To start growing, Nanofarm owners first need to purchase some seeds from Replantable, the two-man startup behind this project. The seeds arrive in “Plant Pads” — flexible sheets that contain all the required nutrients for the crop to flourish. The seeds are organic, and there are numerous crops to choose from, including beets, radishes, herbs, and lettuce.
The front door of the Nanofarm opens like a microwave, allowing for the Plant Pad to be placed within, along with a water-filled tray. The controls are ludicrously straightforward: choose the length of the harvest cycle, and press start. High-efficiency LEDs bathe the seedlings in light, while tinted glass prevents the glare from escaping.
When the crop is ready, the harvest indicator light comes on. The Nanofarm does not pick the produce, but this seems like a reasonable task for any human to endure, along with placing the water tray in the dishwasher. Once these two chores are completed, the process can begin again.
The device itself is built from sturdy materials — wood, aluminum, tempered glass, steel — and units can be stacked to form tower-block gardens. Five Nanofarms use the same power as one 60-watt light bulb. There is barely room for improvement.
The only caveat in the Nanofarm vision relates to expense. At $350 plus $50 shipping, the device is not cheap, and Plant Pads cost $8 each. That said, the project is still in its infancy, with Kickstarter fundraising in full swing. With the financial impetus of early adopters, the Nanofarm may yet start a revolution in affordable home-grown food.
Would you grow your own with Nanofarm, or stick with cultivating herbs in your window? Tell us in the comments!