Poznań, Poland-based company Verdeat announced this week it will launch a Kickstarter campaign in July for its modular vertical farm meant to fit inside apartments, offices, and other non-commercial spaces.
Like other indoor hydroponic grow systems, Verdeat is able to cultivate most plants without the use of soil, though unlike a lot of systems, the 35 cm cylindrical device will still accommodate soil in certain configurations. The modular trays that come with the device can be switched out based on what you’re trying to grow, whether seeds and sprouts, which get planted in a substrate (like coconut fiber), or a potted basil plant you nabbed at the grocery store.
The entire system is controlled by a smartphone app that takes the majority of the guesswork out of the growing process, from knowing how much water to give each type of plant to how to adjust the LEDs to produce the right amount of sun-like light. The user simply fills the grow tray, adds some nutrients, and starts the app, which, according to an email from Verdeat, can run the farm more or less autonomously, only requiring the user to add nutrients every one to three weeks depending on the plants. The company also claims that plants in the Verdeat system grow faster and ripen 40 percent sooner than traditionally grown herbs and vegetables. At the moment, Verdeat’s system can grow the usual selection of herbs and leafy greens found in most vertical farms, as well as strawberries, peppers, blueberries, and other fruits.
Once the Kickstarter campaign launches, backers will be able to choose from a small, medium, or large device, depending on their individual space requirements. Remember earlier this year when The Spoon looked at vertical farms that would fit into closet-sized apartments? Verdeat definitely fits that criteria. It’s also reminiscent of the self-watering, hydroponic farm-in-a-pillar Zooey Deschanel is currently selling via her startup Lettuce Grow, and of Seedo, whose self-contained, airtight farm looks like a mini fridge.
In fact, with the vertical farming market expected to be worth $9.96 billion by 2025, we’ll see many more of these at-home versions of the vertical farm surfacing alongside more industrial-sized, hyper-automated counterparts.
How Verdeat fares amid all this competition will depend largely on some factors the company hasn’t yet released, including the cost of each device unit, how widely available it will be (it’s manufactured in the EU), and how long backers will have to wait before they can actually get their hands on the device and start growing. If they get their hands on it: As we’ve seen with other crowdfunded hardware projects, there is always the possibility that the product might not make it to market as promised. But perhaps manufacturing right there in the EU, will make it easier for Verdeat to keep tabs on the process and avoid those pitfalls.
The Kickstarter campaign will launch at the very beginning of July.