Modern living dictates how we eat. Fresh, organic food could be difficult to source especially for city dwellers. There is a notion that for busy people, food that’s fast and easy to access is good enough. However, it’s slowly changing as a consumer survey shows that organic food is becoming mainstream, and the good news is that 41% of parents are now buying more organic foods than in the past year.
One of the largest organic industry groups, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), has reported that the biggest consumers of organic foods are the millennials. In the US, 25% of the millennials are parents, and 80% more will become parents in the next 15 years. Millennial parenting will have a bold impact on the consumption of organic food as this preference is expected to trickle down to the next generation.
For those who have no experience in gardening, planting vegetables or herbs could be a daunting task. Even the no-soil subset of hydroculture popularly known as hydroponics—which some gardening experts vouch is very easy to do—could still be complex for a beginner.
There is a long list of companies that practice and advocate hydroponics such as the Brick Street Farms in St. Petersburg, Evolve Aquaponics in Texas, The Green Store in Michigan, among others.
A company called Seedsheet has created a solution for first-time, reluctant gardeners. The bold innovation is a roll-out sheet made of fabric embedded with pods. To date, this is the easiest form of gardening as one only needs to place the sheet on top of the soil, in a planter or an outdoor garden, allowing the sheets to dissolve after several days of watering. With minimal involvement, one can expect seeds sprouting any time between 10 to 70 days.
Seedsheets are ordered by groupings. The size of the sheets differ depending on the embedded seeds. The maximum size for Seedsheets are 1.2 by 2.4 meters. Prices start from $15 for pre-made sheets and up to $100 for large custom outdoor sheets. Customers may want to grow a salad and so Seedsheet will provide the customized set.
Seedsheet is an experiential gardening lesson. People without any experience in gardening are able to grow their own food, at the same time, they would learn how their salad greens grow and where they come from. With the greens cut fresh from the garden or the pot, the consumer can be sure that the food is as fresh as it can be.
Although Seedsheet is more expensive than buying ingredients from the supermarket, there are very good reasons to grow them. According to current surveys, business owners should welcome the fact that organic food is no longer just a fad. It’s popularity is growing and the good news is people are willing to pay for organics and non-genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A Green Dining Alliance survey showed that 65% of consumers are willing to pay 10% more for organic foods in restaurants. In another research, published as early as 2014 in SAGE Journals, it showed that more than two-thirds of the 334 respondents said they were willing to pay more for green restaurant practices. The number of people who are willing to spend for healthier options is undeniably growing.
Hydroponics and Small Farms in the Kitchen
Another venture into home food production is Gotham Greens. The company provides potted installations for homes and restaurants. The company provides greens and herbs grown on rooftops within the city. They provide hydroponics-grown vegetables to high end restaurants.
Another new tech for the commercial kitchen is the potted green, as well as on-site potted mushrooms. These are products from Smallhold where they deliver installations of potted mushrooms to commercial kitchens, providing the restaurant with fresh produce picked right before cooking. This is important to consider for dishes which require delicate mushrooms which spoil if not used immediately. Long travel times also have an effect on the quality of the produce. Picking food right before cooking them ensures that the food is as fresh as possible.
Smallhold’s mini farms are vertical installations maintained by the company. Chefs can choose which mushrooms are in the vertical mini farm. These can grow up to 2,300 pounds of mushrooms a year, in a four feet by two feet space, standing six feet tall.
These new technology brings new ideas and concepts to provide fresh sustainable food to the kitchen.