Indoor Micro Farming

Are you looking to lower your family’s food related carbon footprint while enjoying a healthier green diet?

There’s an intriguing new appliance on the market, the Urban Cultivator. It’s a small greenhouse appliance for your kitchen which in only about the size of a small refrigerator or a standard size dishwasher. Best yet, it smartly fits either under your counter or where you’re thinking of putting that new wine refrigerator. Before you go on, just to set the record set, this is not a commercial endorsement for this product, purely an independent, unbiased assessment by Green Blizzard.

The Urban Cultivator is computerized, indoor micro farming. A new and nifty way to grow salad green, sprouts, and shoots in any home or food establishment and costs just over $2000 (U.S.). The plants grow in UV stable food grade removable plastic trays under the watchful eye of a smart computerized system that waters, manages the lights, and ventilates the plants. The utility costs are estimated to be a mere $20-30 year.

Of course there are other home made options, with wooden shelves, plastic containers, and grow lights and fans that you can put together for probably a fracture of this Urban Cultivator, but not as turnkey or error free. As an amateur it eliminates the learning curve and mistakes.

Indoor micro farming is a great idea, if you looking to improve the quality, quantity, and expense of consuming healthy greens. The break-even is relatively short, depending on your usage, food habits and family size.

From an environmental perspective, it’s a big, big net plus, that’s if you fully committed to it and really utilize the device over the long run.

From an environmental benefits perspective indoor micro farming helps:

– Reduce your food miles (the distance your food travels from where its grown and processed to your plate)…

– Reduce your lifecycle carbon footprint – encapsulates everything a food product goes through that contributes to its carbon footprint…

– Eliminate the packaging associated with the greens you would have bought at the grocery store or farmers market. Oftentimes our greens come in big, boxy, clear plastic containers that are an environmentalist nightmare!

– Reduce the work and cooling required by your local grocery store to keep these products safe and fresh – all part of its lifecycle carbon footprint.

According to a Center For Environmental Education report, transporting food is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, 817 million tons of foods are shipped around the planet. The result is that a basic diet of imported products can use four times the energy and produce four times the emissions of an equivalent domestic diet!

A recent study on food miles published by Environmental Science & Technology, claims that 83% of food’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the growing and harvesting of the food. The BBC adds that agricultural practices, processing, storage, and the way we shop for food all play a role in food’s carbon footprint. Agricultural processes alone account for 21% of the food’s energy, another 16% for food processing, 7% for packaging, and 4% for retailing.

All the more reason to start indoor micro farming and supplementing you and your family’s diet with food grown in either your home, a local garden, or from a nearby farmer’s market.

Check out the other great Green Blizzard personal carbon footprint reducing ideas.


About the author

Ian Shaw

Ian from his writing perch in the U.K., covers green home design.