Over the last several years, there have been some notable trends related to dieting and food selections. Many people have shifted toward a plant-based diet due to health reasons. Others have embraced these foods because they offer a more sustainable approach to meeting population needs. At the same time, there has been a heightened concern about organic diets and food safety. Each of these trends have convinced many to invest in their own home gardens. And a fair number have explored hydroponic farming as a way to do this in an affordable yet convenient way.
Hydroponic farming itself is defined as a way to grow plants through the use of water, minerals and other nutrients. Indoor farming, however, takes a broader approach, with many indoor systems providing more classic seed-and-soil products. Both types of practices have recently increased in popularity, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. With lockdowns and quarantines in place, some decided to see if they actually had a green thumb. Much to their surprise, they realized a variety of companies now exist that make indoor farming a breeze.
“People are paying attention to food, and they care about what they eat. Then the global pandemic played a part in this, with people leaning into growing their own food.” – Hank Adams, Founder and CEO of Rise Gardens
The Current State of Indoor Farming
In the past, someone who wanted to attempt an indoor garden had their work cut out for them. They would need to buy pots, seeds, shelving, soil, fertilizer and more before starting this endeavor. Then, after all was in place, care and constant attention had to be provided to yield favorable results. Of course, not everyone had such great luck, despite their best effort. Buying foods from the local grocery store was much less challenging, and usually less expensive, in the long run. This was the state of affairs before hydroponic farming and indoor gardening advanced.
Today, hydroponic farming and indoor gardening make these activities simple and productive. The majority of these systems provide customers with various types of pods or trays where the plants will grow. Not only do these kits contain everything a person might need. But they also take up small amounts of space and are quite efficient. At the same time, most also utilize smart technologies to assist people with the tasks of gardening. Apps and alerts let people know when plants need additional nutrients, fertilizer, water and light. Some even provide automated technologies that ensure proper timing of these tasks.
“I am absolutely convinced we are going to see in the coming two years a total disruption in the way we grow things.” – FX Rouxel, Founder and CEO of Gardyn
Notable Indoor Gardening Companies
There are a number of startups that are taking the market by storm. Both hydroponic farming and indoor gardening systems have enjoyed notable growth. With this in mind, the following are few of the top businesses in this industry at the current time.
- Rise Gardens – This Chicago-based startup has raised a total of $13 million since its founding in 2017. Sales of its IoT-connected, smart indoor gardening systems have exceeded seven figures this last year. And Rise Garden prides itself on systems designed to enhance one’s household décor.
- AeroGarden – This company represents the largest indoor farming business in this sector. Likewise, it offers a variety of products ranging from seed kits to lighting systems as well as hydroponic farming equipment. And systems range in price from $30 to $300 to meet a variety of needs and tastes.
- AeroGrow – This Boulder-based startup was recently purchased by Scott’s Miracle Grow for $40 million. As an indoor gardening system manufacturer, it saw its sales triple in 2020. Given this, the buy-out was not a big surprise, especially since Scott’s already owned 80% of the company’s stock.
- Click and Grow – This indoor farming producer launched in 2014 via Kickstarter. Its smart soil plant pods come in 70 different varieties. Also, its patented tray systems provide an easy modular assembly that can be stacked up to 3 levels high. With plant pods averaging around $2 each, this too is a very economical system.
- Gardyn – This Maryland-based startup has also received a tremendous amount of investor attention. To date, it has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Its vertical farming towers can accommodate up to 30 different plants at once. Plus, its software system streamlines indoor gardening. It too has enjoyed double-digit growth in sales lately. (Read more about how vertical farming is the next evolution of sustainable food growth in this Bold story.)
“With the impact of population growth and the demand on our natural resources, it is inevitable for us to become more self-sufficient. I believe we are all going to be growing some of our food at home soon and I’m certain we’ve developed the best solution to do just that.” – Mattias Lepp, Founder and CEO of Click & Grow
The Appeal of Indoor Gardening
When it comes to indoor farming, current systems offer many benefits. There now quite easy to assemble and monitor, and automated controls and alerts streamline tasks. In addition, hydroponic farming and indoor gardens produce good yields. In fact, most companies provide guarantees that their systems will produce a certain number of vegetables, herbs, and more. Plus, these systems are aesthetically pleasing and take up little space. This, as well as their affordability, have helped create a significant appeal for consumers.
At the same time, indoor gardening systems address some major concerns that many people share today. With expanding population numbers, scarcity of foodstuffs are real threats to humankind. This is especially concerning given global warming, climate change, and reductions in agricultural land. Mass production of food often uses chemicals and non-organic approaches to farming. Hydroponic farming and indoor gardening offer solutions to these problems as well. It’s therefore little wonder why these systems have increased in demand.
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