From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Food Innovation Program — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.
Indoor farms take many different forms, from flood trays to towers of greens, from warehouses to basements, and from microgreens to vining tomatoes. The pioneers of indoor farming primarily used horizontal techniques in growing spaces. However, as tech has developed, the industry has grown. As innovation increases, people have started thinking about the indoor space as a volume rather than an area. This “volumetric” mindset is the future of farming and the fuel to spread innovation.
One maker, Ruth Grace Wong (@ruthgracewong), has a dream of making it easy to grow whatever type of produce you want, while creating a positive impact in the community through food and education. How is she doing it? Grow buckets.
Wong works at Pinterest as a Site Reliability Engineer, but likes to sew, build, and bake things in her spare time. Her dream is to learn how to do everything at scale. She deals with software at scale through her job (where she does rapid prototyping) and she is currently educating herself about manufacturing as a hobby. She wants to make an impact. That is why she started Grow Bucket, and pushed hard to collect enough support to run a Kickstarter for her first mass manufacturing project.
The Grow Bucket Kit is a project aimed at making an impact. It is all about plant education, food autonomy, and waste reduction through empowering everybody to easily grow their own food, learn about what their plants need, and watch the seeds become yummy produce. The Grow Bucket Kit is a repurposed grow bucket, donated by a local business, combined with various electrical components. The kit is designed so that the user can screw, plug, and stick all the parts together to assemble it with ease. The design is open source, and components are readily available locally.
The Grow Bucket will provide a space to grow produce for the people who do not have their own yard or rooftop to do it. It will also make it possible to grow heirloom varieties of plants that otherwise would not have been able to be grow, like spicy sweet dragon carrots or tangy brandywine tomatoes.
“There’s already a great community of people who do DIY grow buckets” Wong said, “and if I could take [my idea] to mass manufacture, I could make the kits cheaper and more energy efficient. Maker Faire is a chance for me to get connected to people who are interested in the product and listen to their feedback.”