Navigating the world of food to make responsible decisions is no cakewalk. Like the recent you-should-feel-so-guilty / just-kidding-you're-helping quinoa debate, figuring out what to eat, when and from whom is as confusing as trying to cook rice without wrecking it. (Quinoa is so much easier!)
Ideally, all food would be chemical-free and come from nearby, we would eat what we grow and everyone would have access to wholesome, nutrient-rich food; lofty goals in today's global system. But even if you're on a budget or don't have any garden space, growing wholesome food yourself might be easier than you think.
On one end of the spectrum are inventions like the Urban Cultivator, a cool idea, though you need money and a proper place to install it. Starting at around $2,000 for the smaller, dishwasher-sized model, the cultivator uses hydroponics to grow food year round and in the comfort of your home. The contraption automatically adjusts the amount of fertilizer, light and water so that once you plant some seeds and push a button, your sprouts and salad greens start to grow with little else required from you. You can even use it to start your annuals.
The company is based in the Lower Mainland and got a big push from securing investment on Dragon's Den. And they have bigger models too that are suitable for restaurants, providing kitchens with the freshest and hyper local produce.
But the price point is outside of many people's budgets, and really, growing food at home even without garden space is possible, albeit more seasonal. Plants will basically grow anywhere if they get water and sunlight, and that includes in containers. Potatoes grow under the soil so buckets or repurposed trash cans or even a big cardboard box can work. Other innovators have come up with efficient methods like the Square Foot Garden where space, seeds and water are
minimized and output is maximized.
Getting creative with food is one of the best things about it, and growing food adds a whole new level of satisfaction. So grab some soil, throw in some compost and a few seeds and see what happens, you could be eating homegrown salad in mere weeks.
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