Caleb Harper, the creator of the CityFarm, is at it again. He's scaling down his design to create a smaller system called the Personal Food Computer, which allows users to grow fresh and natural vegetables anywhere without soil.
The Personal Food Computer is basically a small aeroponics system that creates its own weather, offering nutrients to plants by spraying them with a water mist. It also has sensors to track CO2 levels, light and humidity. Basically, the box can be put anywhere and it will grow fresh vegetables.
The Personal Food Computer acts very similarly to a 3D printer. Harper, from MIT, plans to allow users to share recipes through the system. Users could buy a packet of tomato seeds, and then simply download the instructions to grow them, which the PFC will follow. They could even potentially tweak the instructions to match their tastes, and they'll never have to worry about forgetting to water their plants.
Of course, some people may not like the system and label it as "unnatural," despite the fact that vegetables are grown similarly on a larger scale in countries where miles of desert are covered with plastic sheets and nutrients are sprayed onto vegetables.
There are plenty of advantages to the Personal Food Computer. Much like the bigger CityFarm, the PFC brings healthy food to people who may have less access to it in urban areas. The infrastructure is already there — things like water and power are available. The food wouldn't have to be shipped long distances, meaning that it could be fresher when it reaches consumers. Not only that, but foods can also be grown regardless of the season, meaning that we could have fresh peaches all year round.
"By fundamentally rethinking 'grow it THERE and eat it HERE' to 'grow it HERE and eat it HERE,' we will dramatically reduce environmental contamination and depletion while creating jobs for a rapidly urbanizing global workforce and increasing access to diverse and affordable nutrient-dense produce in our future cities," says CityFarm on its website.
These small farms are able to grow food quite a bit faster than traditional farms, with a 25 percent to 30 percent decrease in time being observed through use of the Personal Food Computer. This doesn't just get food to the people faster, but it also means a decrease in power to run the systems.