IKEA’s Indoor Farm Is Trying To Alter How We Grow Food
The prototype designed by SPACE10 can grow greens three times faster than traditional methods
Multinational furniture manufacturer IKEA has introduced an indoor farm with the hopes of giving people the ability to grow their own food at home. The prototype, or Lokal as it’s called, was designed by SPACE10, IKEA’s lab for innovation.
Lokal is the most recent prototype to come from The Farm, a SPACE10 lab seeking to change how we view traditional farming while implementing new food production methods into our cities.
By experimenting with hydroponics, which is the growing of food without soil, SPACE10 says that it’s able to grow food up to three times faster and with 90% less water than traditional methods, according to a blog post with Medium. In addition to being soilless and faster than traditional methods, Lokal is also able to grow greens without any sunlight at all. Instead, the plants survive solely off of LED lighting and mineral nutrient rich water, simulating what Lokal refers to as “The perfect spring day, every day”.
SPACE10 points out that the current global food system is problematic for a few reasons. For starters, our current method of food production is contributing to the changing climate and is also wasteful of resources that we are already running low on, like fresh water. Furthermore, current methods lend themselves to wasting food. The hope is that the benefits of hydroponic farming courtesy of Lokal will go a long way in remedying some of these problems.
People should understand that the benefits of Lokal are not exclusive to the planet. According to its post with Medium, the food also “tastes good, is more nutritious, pesticide-free and fresh all year round”.
While this is all very interesting, simply creating a hydroponic growing apparatus is not even the end goal for Lokal. The Farm seeks to take things further by meshing the agrarian and tech worlds in the future. As it posted in Medium, the lab has hopes of “Introducing sensors and machine learning to the vertical stacks and connecting the data with Google Home — to enable people to ‘talk’ to plants, in effect, and hear how they’re doing, as well as to teach children and adults alike about sustainable food”.
It will be interesting to see just how much of a change Lokal will be able to make on the food growth industry’s ecological footprint, but for now it’s still a prototype.
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Tim Rodgers is the Co-Founder and CPO of SHOPTHAT, a company focused on making shopping for beauty products much easier by allowing consumers to easily discover, curate and purchase products via the Web and Facebook Messenger. Tim is also the Founder of rehab, an award winning technology company focussed on creating brand services through messaging, voice and AR.