Photo: Patrik Hellstrand, Oath Pizza

Earlier today Farmshelf CEO Andrew Shearer announced on Linkedin that the new Upper West Side location of Oath Pizza, set to open this Thursday, will feature one of their indoor growing units.

Farmshelf builds turnkey hydroponic mini-farms, about the size of a bookshelf, for use in restaurants and hotels. Their systems are equipped with sensors which can automatically manage the growing process, so all users have to do is plug in the device and harvest.

By growing produce 15 feet from the kitchen instead of, say, 1,500 miles, Farmshelf units can dramatically reduce food packaging, waste, and carbon footprint. It’s also is a pretty cool marketing gimmick for restaurants which put emphasis on local ingredients.

Oath Pizza is one such restaurant. The fast-casual pizza chain, which started in Nantucket, specializes in local and ethically sourced ingredients. So it’s a natural fit for them to install a grow unit which will let them take the leap from “farm to table” to “restaurant to table.”

According to their website, Farmshelf units can currently support over 50 leafy greens, herbs, and edible flowers. Judging from the Linkedin photo, the only thing the indoor farms will be growing at Oath Pizza is basil. However, their menu also features oregano and spinach, so maybe those will make an appearance at some point down the road.

This could be just the beginning of the Farmshelf-Oath Pizza partnership. Last month, the pizza chain partnered with Aramark to bring their ethical ‘za to new, larger venues, such as college campuses, sports arenas, and office buildings. Oath currently has locations in Boston, D.C., and New York, and this partnership opens them for some pretty massive expansion. It would be a smart idea to bring Farmshelf along with them; their mini-farms provide very visual publicity. Not to mention a great Instagram opportunity.

The Upper West Side outpost will join Farmshelf’s current location lineup, which includes several restaurants in Washington, D.C., as well as The Great Northern Food Hall in New York’s Grand Central Station. Maybe soon college students and baseball fans will be able to see their basil growing right next to their Crazy Caprese pizza — and then Instagram it.

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