Farm-to-table is taking root in corporate offices.
Farmshelf, a Brooklyn-based startup, has begun selling indoor farm kits that grow food like lettuce and herbs using hydroponics — a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. And the product is so popular that corporate cafeterias, restaurants and food halls around the U.S. are dropping $7,000 apiece to buy in.
“We’re building the Lego blocks to grow food anywhere,” founder and CEO Andrew Shearer told Moneyish. “We’ve been called the Nespresso for lettuce; you literally put the plant pod in, and watch it grow.”
Farmshelf looks like an open-air six-foot, four-inch bookshelf stacked with greenery that simply plugs into a wall. Users can choose to grow more than 50 crops, including baby lettuce and basil, on shelves fit with custom LED lights and a nutrient system. The corresponding Farmshelf app monitors how your plants are doing in real-time, and sends notifications when your produce is ready for harvest. Each Farmshelf unit costs $7,000, and can produce 10 pounds of herbs per week and 140 heads of lettuce per month, or $350 to $800 worth of produce each month. Farmers pay a $105 monthly subscription fee that includes nutrients and seed pods.