- Alexandra Cosma
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Could a plug-and-play, complexity-free, at-home hydroponic system for vegetable farming have an impact on urban food production?
Many of us have envisioned cities of the future with hydroponic vegetables towers and high tech versions of the suspended gardens of Babylon. Nevertheless, while such developments would surely impact the urban environment for the better, such changes require large financial commitments, years of planning or a high degree of initiative and organisation on the side of ambitious communities.
I believe that an affordable hydroponic systems build for home use could make a real impact. I believe a planter that controls all growth variables (light, humidity, nutrients, etc.) could be built for an affordable price, compact and space-efficient in most kitchens, designed to look like a work of art. My assumption is that such a product, designed with the goal of enabling city dwellers to easily and efficiently grow some of their own food, would appeal to many individuals who have never considered growing anything at home, because they lacked the time and knowledge for such an endeavor. My assumption is that if we could take away the complexity and maintenance requirements from the process of growing vegetables at home, many individuals would like the idea of being able to harvest their own food, would reconnect with the taste of organic fruit and vegetables and would encourage their kids to thus understand nature.
I believe that an innovative business model based on such a planter is the type of innovation that would be the base of sustainable food product. Such a business model could operate with the goals and passion of an NGO, but also have commercial feasibility in order to ensure a sustainable business. As an individual, I do not have the resources to build a futuristic hydro garden tower that would feed thousands. But as an innovation savvy startup-er, I believe I could build a product to feed one person at a time.
I need some feedback from you. Do you think this world needs something like this? I'd welcome you to challenge my assumptions