The promise of hyperlocal, accessible, smart kitchen gardens has finally arrived. Today SproutsIO, the connected microgarden incubated at MIT’s Media Lab, launches it’s bid into a competitive but wanting market of countertop gardens. The world’s first, “connected, plug and play, hybrid hydroculture system,” will allow users with even the blackest of thumbs to cultivate fresh produce in their own homes.
The SproutsIO system sets itself apart from other kitchen container gardens in it’s proprietary SproutsIOGrow app that allows users to track and contribute data with a networked system to monitor and maintain optimal growing conditions for each specific type of produce. This educational feedback loop teaches new growers how to care for and monitor their plants while also giving more seasoned growers control of their growing conditions including wavelength-tuned LED lighting and fog misting system. And best of all, you can monitor your new plant friends from anywhere using the built-in camera for plant imaging and time-lapse growth photography. The app also connects to fitness trackers, meal planners and calendars so your produce pings you when it’s ready for harvest.
The SproutsIO pod is a hybrid hydroculture system—soil free, efficient and self-contained. The system consumes less than half the power of a laptop, 2% of the water and only 40% of the nutrients needed to grow traditionally in soil. The basin is designed with full life-cycle assessment in mind—it is made from plant-based material and home-compostable within three to six months. This philosophy extends to the seeds sourced for their pods as well—the launch includes kale, lettuces, chile and fairytale eggplant—the seeds are responsibly-sourced through partner seed banks.
As ever more efficient growing systems compete for counter space in our kitchens, we’ll find that what and how we eat will become a battlefield of values. As the founders point out, “when millions grow together dependence on industrial agriculture will be disrupted. SproutsIO will move growers from the end of the supply chain to the center of the food cycle making a deeper connection with food possible.” Systems like SproutsIO present the opportunity for people to have a more personal relationship with their food and control over the safety and provenance of what they consume.
SproutsIO launches on Kickstarter with an early-bird price of $559.