Gadget offers ‘space-age’ kitchen farming
Importing fresh food generates significant carbon emissions, which is why growing your own food locally is a more sustainable way forward.
Now one company is developing a kitchen-top appliance for people with a lack of outdoor space to grow food at home.
The Rotofarm, being developed by Australian biotechnology company Bace, will enable growers to harvest fresh herbs and vegetables with low levels of effort and waste.
The company argues that traditional farming is “terribly inefficient and wasteful”, and wants to bring farming “in house” to increase efficiency and make food production easier and more environmentally friendly.
The Rotofarm’s design combines energy-efficient sunlight spectrum lighting, smart app automation and NASA-inspired zero-gravity technology.
Following research on the International Space Station – which showed plants grow better in the ISS environment – the appliance’s designers set out to mimic the same environment here on earth. The lack of gravity means there is no resistance to a plant’s efforts to pull water and nutrients upwards and meaning their stems can grow taller and their leaves wider, using less energy.
The appliance uses re-planted seed pods made from 100 per cent biodegradable, plastic-free, coconut fibre which are inserted into the drum, before water and nutrient concentrate is added. The manufacturer claims the Rotofarm uses 95 per cent less water than growing in soil and its rotational growing surface uses up to three times less space than a regular horizontal vegetable patch.