Hydroponic tech garden Rotofarm takes crop rotation literally
The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are incredibly huge, contributing to global warming, consuming an unheard amount of water and polluting lakes, rivers and coastal ecosystems across the globe
Rotofarm, designed by studio Bace, is a countertop hydroponic garden where plants are rotated to eliminate the effect of gravity and, consequently, to grow them faster.
For most of the 200.000 years of our species’ evolution, the human being has lived in small groups, scattered over vast territories, raising animals and farming. It is only in the last 6.000 years that humans began organizing themselves through initial forms of urban centers.
Nowadays, over half of the world population lives in cities (view report), pulling out entirely of any form of independent food production. Moreover, while population growth is steadily increasing, demand for food grows accordingly and farming requires larger areas, with dangerous effects on the planet.
The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are incredibly huge, contributing to global warming, consuming an unheard amount of water and polluting lakes, rivers and coastal ecosystems across the globe with runoff from fertilizer and manure. Agriculture also accelerates the loss of biodiversity, since areas cleared of grassland and forests now dedicated to farming, lose their habitat composition and lead to wildlife extinction [source].
It comes natural to wonder: why not going back to the origins? Why don’t people grow their own food?
To answer all of these questions Melbourne-based studio Bace, founded in 2018 by Toby Farmer, designed its first project: the Rotofarm. A zero-gravity hydroponic vegetable farm, which brings a hint of agriculture right into our kitchen as a sustainable source of healthy and organic food with an advanced all-in-one system.
Rotofarm is a space-efficient vegetable planter that gathers in a 30 centimeters footprint a 1.5 meters long garden. Inspired by space shuttle technology, Rotofarm spins slowly – a full circle once per hour – eliminating the effect of gravity on plants and enabling them to grow freely and faster.
Rotofarm is a wheel of nature perfectly integrating the modern kitchen, reminding us of where our food comes from and the importance of healthy eating. Many plants can be grown inside this kitchen garden, such as lettuce, spinach, mint, rosemary, parsley, small cannabis and hemp varieties, and hundreds more.
Maintaining the crop is easy: plants are automatically fed with an ideal amount of water and nutrients, with zero waste of water in soil or due to evaporation. It is just necessary to top up liquid levels when they are running low and Rotofarm will ensure vegetables are in ideal growing conditions.
To maximize vegetable growth, Rotofarm uses a sun-like lighting LED, whose light glare is reduced to 50% by a magnetic climate cover. The cover’s outer side enhances vegetable visibility and allows Rotofarm to blend into the environment.
The interior side, which is coated in a reflective mirror finish, boosts and distributes light amongst vegetables growing inside. By removing the magnetic cover, the lights dim and the rotation automatically stops, making picking and planting of vegetables extremely easy.
Rotofarm is made from medical-grade stainless steel, frost-smoked glass and durable silicone. Thanks to its lasting materials and its high functionality, Rotofarm is an environmentally friendly source of sustainable and fresh vegetables, blending seamlessly with most kitchens and interior environments.
Another interesting project enabling urban-dwellers to appreciate the process of growing greens and aromatic plants is tinyFarm by Modgarden: a modular piece of technology to grow easily vegetables in any apartment.