It's common knowledge that meat eating has a devastating effect on our environment, but little is known that vegetables take their toll too, in some rare cases and according to some isolated studies, even more so than meat. These damages come largely in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, created when produce is transported thousands of miles from farm to market, as well as via the water- and energy-intensive methods of growing certain kinds of vegetables and using specific growing methods.
Replantable, a company founded by two owners frustrated by this seemingly broken fruit and vegetable supply chain, addresses the bulk of the problem with a product named nanofarm. First, users choose the veggies, salad greens or herbs they want to grow. They are then sent a plant pad with the seeds and nutrients needed to grow the product. Next, the user fills the nanofarm tray with water, puts the plant pad on the tray, closes the (tinted) door of the nanofarm, turns the dial to the number of weeks to harvest and presses start. It's that easy.
There's enough water in the tray from seed to harvest. Only non-GMO organic seeds are sold, and the LEDs used are so efficient that it would take five nanofarms to match a typical 60-watt light bulb. The plant pad is fully biodegradable too. If you're short on space, the nanofarms can be stacked and placed anywhere in your home that stays between about 15–30°C.
Most plants take about 3–4 weeks to grow, and they're competitively priced with what you can get at the market (at around US$5/pad), but users get the additional benefit of getting fresh produce without any damage to the environment.
The product is still at the crowdfunding stage, but beta testing has been done to prove that the technology works, with the first batch of units predicted to be shipped to backers in August 2017.
Click here for nanofarm's kick-starter page.