For most people fresh veggies mean a trip to the grocery store, unless you have a green thumb and a garden plot. However, Swedish meatball and $89 bookcase seller Ikea is taking one of the first large-scale steps towards bringing urban agriculture indoors. Co.Design reports that the home furnishing company and meatball slinger is introducing a series of hydroponic planters that will allow people to grow herbs and greens right on their countertops.
Hydroponic technology, which is used on a commercial scale to grow everything from fancy lettuce to marijuana, allows the grower to cultivate large amounts of food in small spaces with just light and water (no soil). Advocates for the process say it saves water and allows for year-round cultivation in regions with less sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. Although some startups have attempted to bring similar small-scale systems to market, Ikea's system marks the first foray by a large company into the in-home hydroponics arena. The KRYDDA/VÄXER series allows customers to grow their own lettuces and herbs year-round and was developed with the help of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, according to a news release.
The kit comes with seeds, starter plugs, a starter container, and a platform with a light. First, the starter plugs are moistened in water and inserted into the matching slots in the starter container. Seeds are placed on the plugs and covered with a clear plastic lid to germinate in the sun. They're then replanted in larger baskets and transferred underneath the light to grow. The kits are slated for an April release.
Ikea's food courts are currently undergoing a major reboot. The Swedish home furnishings company is implementing a three-zone restaurant setup with family-friendly spaces and a coffee shop vibe. Last year the plywood bookcase store launched a massive candy line and introduced vegan meatballs to its food ranks.
Watch the ad for the hydroponic kits below: