One of Japan’s largest construction companies – Daiwa House recently introduced a line of ready-made hydroponic vegetable units called Agri-Cube, intended for hotels and restaurants the unit might also be suitable for personal use (that is if you have the space and cash to buy and use it).
Urban farming is a great concept – letting people grow their own crops organically is a dream many urban dwellers share, but very few are able to materialize due to limited space, complex work, legislation and other issues. The recent drought in the U.S., rising costs of fruits and vegetables alongside the growing need for healthier, fresher produce are all a problem looking for an answer. -
That answer might be (at least for some) – Agri-Cube. The micro ” vegetable factory” measures about 16 feet in length and 8 feet wide and can be transported to almost any location using a light heavy-duty truck and placed on a concrete foundation (with a ready plumbing and electrical utility infrastructure). -
Once the unit is set up and ready to use it can grow vegetables at an astonishing rate. According to Daiwa House the Agri-Cube can grow no less than 10,000 lettuce heads per year (other vegetables can also be grown of course). This amount is definitely far more than any one person (or even a family) eats in a year, but using the Agri-Cube individuals can grow and sell their own produce locally – thus contributing to the community and even make a living from urban farming. -
Talking about making a living, the cost of operation of the Agri-Cube is said to be $4500 a year (less than $400 a month) or a mere 45 cents per lettuce. The main issue is the initial cost of the Agri-Cube itself – at $70,000 the unit is definitely an investment (a more advanced $108,000 model is also available). -
The good news is that the Agri-Cube was designed to require very little maintenance. It includes all the hydroponic equipment, air conditioning and special growth lights which encourage faster plants growth all located inside a simple steel frame with an optional solar panels (if one likes to cut down energy costs). -
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.