While in Vancouver for TED last month, we stumbled upon the just-opened “Living Produce Aisle,” which makes salads and smoothies from microgreens, vegetables and herbs grown right inside the space. The immersive storefront was created by Surrey, BC-based Urban Cultivator to put their enclosed hydroponic systems in action. A home appliance (there are much larger commercial units available for chefs and restaurants too) roughly the size of a wine fridge, Urban Cultivator is a high-tech indoor garden for growing a wide range of greens—from basil and wheatgrass to tatsoi and swiss chard. It hooks up to water and electricity just like a dishwasher and its internal computer oversees the automated air circulation, watering and lighting for optimal growth of what you decide to grow.
“We want to provide everyone with fresh and healthy food in a sustainable way, and I know our units can do that,” founder Tarren Wolfe tells CH. “Initially, it was just a way to grow food for my family because of my wife’s food allergies.” The only way to be certain that the vegetables in your salad are truly pesticide-free, fresh, and sustainably grown (and delivered) is to produce your own. Sadly, not all of us are located in perfect climates, let alone have the luxury of a backyard. Urban Cultivator is one potential solution, but for health enthusiasts, it’s a dream kitchen addition that could save a lot of time, money and miles. Imagine a future in which vegetables don’t have to travel by airplane and truck to end up on dinner plates. (According to this Instagram we snapped in Osaka, Japan, the future may already be here.)
The standalone Urban Cultivator Residential on wheels is available for $2499 (plus the cost of the butcher block, which ranges $150-275 based on the material); the built-in version starts at the same price. Visit their website for a full list of retailers; Vancouver residents can also check out the Living Produce Aisle, located at 1168 Hamilton Street in Yaletown.
Images courtesy of Urban Cultivator