There are many problems with the American diet. According to the AMA, almost 40% of Americans are considered obese. Although the reasons for that are numerous and complex, one way to begin to address the problem is with healthier eating habits. Growing produce at home makes people more likely to cook healthful meals, allows them to eat local food and if there are children at home, can help parents instill healthy habits. Exposing children to fresh produce at an early age also has a big impact. In this guest blog post, Hank Adams, Founder and CEO of Rise Gardens, takes a look at the advantages of hyper local food.
Guest Author: Hank Adams, Founder and CEO, Rise Gardens
Our belief is that true freshness matters and there’s nothing fresher than food that was just harvested. Being a gardener myself, I can attest that serving my family a salad made from freshly harvested lettuce is completely different than something bought at the grocery store. I want to enable everyone to eat like that every day all year long.
But even fresh produce has problems. Soil loss and depletion has been in the news a lot lately. Just a few weeks ago the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board published an article warning of the dangers of soil loss. Illinois is losing soil faster than it can be regenerated. One way to preserve topsoil and to have access with impossibly fresh food is grow it yourself. But for most of us, the outdoor growing season is extremely short. How can people grow fresh, healthy food all year long in their own homes? That’s exactly the question I wanted to answer when I started exploring hydroponics as a growing platform.
Hydroponic technology has some major benefits compared to traditional soil farming. Since water is recycled, plants use 70-90% less water to grow. Plants grow in controlled environments so there is no need for pesticides. Additionally, it has higher produce yields thanks to the ability to plant more in less space with faster growth rates. I initially built my own system and it worked pretty well, but it was a long and complex process and I couldn’t do it on my own. I had to enlist help from engineers and horticultural experts. The more I got into the process, the more I wanted to make it easy for anyone who was interested in fresh food to be able to grow what they eat.
To turn that goal into a reality, I recruited a multidisciplinary team. That led us to create the fantastic device that we are launching to the world now. Rise Gardens is an actual garden that grows fresh produce inside your home. I worked with engineers and plant specialists for over a year to create the best system possible.
Some additional benefits from my product extend beyond filling a gap in the marketplace. The greens and herbs you can grow truly taste incredible. People constantly come into my office where my garden is, rip off a piece of basil and pop it in their mouth. I just wait because there’s always a moment when their eyes light up. Anyone who’s ever grown basil knows that it tastes so much different (and better!) than anything you can get in a store. Having all that freshness on hand can really elevate your cooking and save you from throwing out unused herbs.
Finally, a lot of thought went into the design. Complex hydroponic systems like mine can be real eyesores with exposed pumps, plastic basins and hanging lights. Rise Gardens do not have to be hidden down in the basement. These systems are beautiful are meant to be placed front and center in kitchens or living rooms where they can become conversation pieces and inspire avid, passionate gardeners to share their interest with guests who may be totally unaware that you don’t need soil to be a gardener.
The opinions of our guest bloggers are their own and not those of 1871. Hank Adams is the Founder and CEO of Rise Gardens, which aims to bring the joys and benefits of gardening to everyone, with simple indoor hydroponic systems that make it easy and affordable for people to grow beautiful and nutritious veggies all year long.