Columns Food Fund Fridays

April 19, 2013 at 10:24 am

Food Fund Friday – Hydroponics at Home

I remember a time not very many years ago when I thought there was only one plant people grew with hydroponics—and it wasn’t exactly legal. The image of hydroponic growing wasn’t helped much by the fact that the only time I saw stores advertising their soil-free growing methods was when I was in San Francisco.

In the last few years, hydroponic growing has, well, grown up. Aquaponics now offer a closed-loop system of hydroponic growing where fish provide the fertilizer and the plants and a nitrogen-eating bacteria filter the water. In New York City, many of the rooftop farms have taken advantage of hydroponic growing methods as it allows them to grow more plants in a small area.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a backyard or rooftop, window-boxes or becoming that crazy plant lady with a shrub in every corner are our only options to bring the garden to our homes. There have been a few companies that have Kickstarted their way to more success with hydroponic growing indoors: Windowfarms, Back to the Roots (which actually offers an aquaponic growing kit), and now Modern Sprout.

Planter boxes from Modern Sprout

Planter boxes from Modern Sprout

As they say in the video, “A lot of hydroponics systems are focused on function more than form so we did it the complete opposite. We focused on the design first, we thought about simplicity, we thought about affordability…” and from that came Modern Sprout a hydroponic system that makes it easy to keep your plants alive (all you need to do is follow the instruction manual and provide the correct amount of sunlight) and looks nice in the process.

If you ever wanted to get your parents into growing their own food or your sister or your friend who is always killing her plants on accident, this product is pretty exciting. “All you have to do is set your timer, add your plants and water, and plug it in.” They’re trying to raise $60,000 to help with their first run of boxes as well as setting up a web store and PR to keep Modern Sprout afloat.

If you know anyone with a windowsill who is lacking in a green thumb or simply has wanted to try out hydroponic growing but found it too hard to do, check out their Kickstarter.