Can technology help you become an urban farmer? Samsung says yes

·2-min read
Basil grown using hydroponic farming (Ben Queenborough/PinPep)
Basil grown using hydroponic farming (Ben Queenborough/PinPep)

According to research by Samsung, Gen Z are gearing up to be the most green-fingered age-group in the UK, with 72 per cent of 18-24 year olds nurturing mini crops and plants on their windowsills. As a member of the aforementioned demographic, I too tend to my mint, basil and aloe vera with the greatest of care.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed also believed that technology could help them to grow both food and plants at home – something which has never crossed my mind.

But at Project Plant’s urban-farm to table pizza pop up last week I’m thrust into a world of dimly lit geodesic domes, filled with blooming mushrooms, walls of basil and thumping music.

 (Ben Queenborough/PinPep)
(Ben Queenborough/PinPep)

The lights and heat lamps are all connected to an app on a Samsung tablet, which means growing conditions can be controlled at the touch of a button.

Immediately, the dingy cupboard under my stairs comes to mind - although it currently houses an assortment of odd wellies and broken umbrellas, could it be transformed into a verdant paradise?

“Small space growing, especially when enabled by connected tech, is great as it makes use of ‘dead’ spaces within the home,” says Andrew Gregson, director and founder of GreenLab. “It also brings us closer to the source of where our food comes from and it’s incredibly satisfying on a personal level too.”

After picking my own tomatoes off of vines erupting from bubbling hydroponic systems, it does give me a rush of pride seeing them baked into a pizza by Purezza, the vegan pizzeria chain.

 (Ben Queenborough/PinPep)
(Ben Queenborough/PinPep)

As the Project Plant pop up urban farm to table pizzeria was open for only three days, Samsung are donating the geodesic domes and other materials to GreenLab where they will be used to set up an urban farm in North London.

Surprisingly, truck-loads of soil aren’t needed to begin your career as an urban farmer. In one of the domes, mushrooms of different hues, shapes and sizes sprout out of waste coffee grounds.

I’m told that they’ll also grow happily out of cardboard, so it may be worth having a rummage through your recycling bin to source some cost effective, mushroom-friendly compost.

 (Ben Queenborough/PinPep)
(Ben Queenborough/PinPep)

Such easy access to farming resources means that the 38 per cent of people who said their lack of knowledge prevents them from starting their own at-home farm can rest assured that it takes very little to produce a lot of your own food.

“Through Project Plant, we hope to further inspire our customers, and demonstrate how connected technology can help power small space growing,” says Amy Campbell, director of corporate marketing, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland.

With the cold winter months approaching, there is no need to wait six months to plant your crops. Simply find a dark corner, some cardboard and a blue light connected to an app and you’ll be drowning in mushrooms before you know it.

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