Ikea’s Clever Kit Makes Indoor Farming as Easy as It’ll Get
Last year, Ikea surveyed8, 500 people in eight cities around the world, to better understand their kitchen habits.The results of that survey are published in the company’s second annual Life at Home Report.Among the more interesting findings was the fact that 60 percentage ofsurvey participants grew plants indoors, be they veggies or flowers.Gardening was more common in Shanghai, where the number is 75 percent.
Its no amaze, then, that Shanghai is where Ronnie Runesson, a senior product developer at Ikea, came up with the company’s new line of indoor gardening kits. Runesson, who is Swedish and has worked at Ikea for 33 years, recently spent three years in the companys Shanghai office. While in Shanghaihe visited with other product suppliers, and ensure several small, indoor divisions where office workers grewtheir own lettuces and herbs. Runesson, whose mothers were farmers, was intrigued. He did some market research and find similar products in Japan and China, but none for buy in countries like Sweden or the United States. So he brought the idea to Ikea. Ikea adapted the concept, and the Krydda/ Vxer line of small-scale hydroponic gardening kits was born. Its available now in the UK, and will make its way stateside early next year.
The Krydda/ Vxer kits include a handful of portions: seeds, a frame, an LED light that simulates the sunlight, and two trays. The firsthouses moistened, stone wool plugs; the second, water-retaining pumice stones. Seeds implanted inthe stone wool plugs eventually sprout. After that, the seeds and plugs get repotted into new boats, along with the pumice stones. Users water the plants evenly with asmallirrigation system. Seven months later, the freshly grown herbs, lettuce, bok choy, and chard–Ikeas initial offering–can go immediately from planter to plate.
Runesson wanted such systems to be as simple as possible. He also wanted to ensure that people around the world could grow plants successfully at any time of year.He and his squad consulted with scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to create a universally viable growing kit, which, in this case, entails a starter pack of 12 seeds and some appropriate fertilizer. The LED lighting, too, needed to work for all kinds of climates, kitchen sizings, and sun exposure.
Ikea is paying special attention to the ideathat, in the future, peoplewill have to adapt to living in smaller apartments in urban environments. To explore that notion, last year Ikea partnered with Ideo to create a concept kitchen for the year 2025. The prototypes for near-future living included a smart table that uses augmented reality to assist cook, inductive cool receptacles, and a composting system that siphons off nutrients from waste to feed indoor plants. The Krydda/ Vxer kits arent that high-tech, but they are a stepin the direction ofsustainable city living. Besides, its only 2016. Weve still get nine years to get to that AR kitchen table.