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NASA Technology for Your Indoor Herb Garden

In 2005, I stumbled upon an article on Wired about NASA’s plans to grow plants during the Mars mission. At first this seemed nothing more than trivia, something to talk about at social events, but in 2009 I saw a research paper that claimed every year people throw away 20 billion dollars worth of house plants because they’ve forgotten to water or fertilize them. So I started tinkering with aeroponics. I quickly discovered that while it was very innovative, and probably great for NASA, it wasn’t ideal for home use because it consumes lots of energy, can be complicated to operate, and makes a lot of noise.


This led me to look for alternative technologies, eventually inventing a nanotech growth medium I later introduced under the Click&Grow brand. Unlike a normal plant pot, nanochambers in our smart soil guarantee superior aeration for plant roots even when the soil is saturated with water. Combined with a nutrient release system, Click&Grow provides plants with the ultimate growth environment.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jubqc943zY8

With a team, I based our technology on the way plants are grown in nature. We do not use pesticides, fungicides, hormones or other harmful substances. In fact, the way that nutrients are released to the plants involves decomposing organic components by microbiological means. The same mechanism happens in nature—leaves fall and become nutrients for future generations of plants.

All in all, despite lots of high technology involved in Click&Grow, plants are grown naturally, using biomimicry as the main source for inspiration and innovation. And now, our Smart Herb Garden allows people to grow more than one plant at a time and features a built-in LED light so that growing plants at home can be really easy.

Our first smart garden proved that nanotechnology works in gardening and it’s helped thousands of people around the world get over their “black thumb”. The Smart Herb Garden is a step closer to sustainability and self-sufficiency, and our technology has potential for much more. If you’d like to support a movement in indoor gardening, consider supporting our Kickstarter project.

Images and video courtesy of Click&Grow

This project is part of GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

This month, we're challenging the GOOD community to host a dinner party and cook a meal that contains fewer ingredients than the number of people on the guest list. Throughout March, we'll share ideas and resources for being more conscious about our food and food systems. Join the conversation at good.is/food and on Twitter at #chewonit.

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