No back yard? No problem.
With condominiums and apartments increasingly becoming the housing choice for residents of both urban and suburban Japan, fewer and fewer people have a home garden these days. But while not having any soil of your own means you’re free from yardwork, it also makes it difficult to enjoy the flavor and satisfaction that comes from eating vegetables that you raised yourself.
But even if you can’t have a garden, you can still put your green thumb to use with this clever device, called foop.
A mashup of “food” and “people,” foop is a hydroponic agriculture kit, meaning that is allows you to grow plants not in soil, but in water. Among the vegetables that the designers promise can be grown are lettuce, parseley, arugula, basil, and shiso, all of which you raise from seeds but will develop more quickly than non-hydroponic raised plants.
Designed to be used indoors, the unit’s wooden housing is produced by craftsmen from Hida in Gifu Prefecture, one of Japan’s most famous woodworking regions.
In the interest of preserving its elegant appearance, you won’t find any buttons on the casing. There is a small display screen for simple icons, but detailed information about the temperature, humidity, and light and water levels of your self-contained garden are sent to your smartphone. Using the foop app, you can also make adjustments to the growing area’s environmental conditions.
The app will send you a reminder when your veggies are ready to be eaten, but in the meantime you can check on their progress by peering through the clear acrylic cover.
Once it’s time to harvest your crops, simply slide open the cover, slide out the tray, and take as much as you plan to eat right then and there.
▼ Enjoy the fruits, err, vegetables, of your labor.
Preorders have begun for the product, which is priced at 38,800 yen (US$360) and can be ordered here. However, quantities for the initial batch, set to ship in September, are limited to just 100 units, so don’t delay if you’re in the mood for some futuristic farm-fresh vegetables.
Follow Casey on Twitter, and next time you get hungry, he just might make you a nice lettuce sandwich.