If you have your heart set on eating homegrown vegetables, but you live in a condo, a Toronto inventor may have the answer. He's designed a micro-garden that provides year-round produce harvested in the comfort of your apartment.
Aamar Khwaja was working as a banker on Wall Street when he first came up with the idea. He'd been feeling sick for months, but when he changed his diet, and started eating more greens and locally sourced produce he felt better.
The result forced him to rethink his career. He started meeting with naturopaths, nutritionists and designers, dreaming up a way for him to grow his own food, all from inside a condo.
That's when the idea for the Modgarden emerged.
"[It's] essentially a tiny farm," Khwaja told CBC's Metro Morning Tuesday. "It allows you to grow in your own condo a range of vegetables from leafy greens like kale, spinaches and lettuces of the world to herbs like parsley, basil, thyme and various micro greens."
The system is contained in a cabinet with lights shinning down on shelves where the plants grow in trays using organic soil. It is completely automated, meaning you fill a reservoir with water, put in the seeds and leave it. The garden self-regulates and sends you a text message when the water tank needs to be refilled.
The best part? You don't need a green thumb to see the results.
"I built this for me. I, myself, kill everything I grow," said Khwaja. "All you have to do is throw in the planters and watch it grow."
Unlike the old-fashioned window box, the Modgarden comes with a steep price tag, with units ranging from $600 to $1,100.
The system is still in an early stage of product testing, but it's being featured this week in Toronto at The National Home Show. Some restaurants in Toronto are using the prototypes too, in an effort to bring locally sourced produce to customers in the middle of winter.
"It's very simple ... and all you have to do when the vegetables are ready is snip them," said Khwaja.