– urban agriculture, prototyping, programming, sensors, food, education, MIT Media Lab
MIT Media Lab, Changing Places Group
SeedPod is an interactive food cultivation system that enables everyday people to reliably produce and access healthy food in urban areas. This is the first system to incorporate aeroponic growing technology with sensors, automation and mobile applications into a fully integrated and responsive system for ease of use in an indoor urban context. By bringing farming to urban areas, it is possible to short-circuit the opacity of large-scale agriculture and create a feedback cycle for healthier, sustainable living through direct access to local produce.
The current prototype incorporates a super lightweight, inflatable and collapsable aeroponic growing system and plant sensors with monitoring system. Because the system is aeroponic - using water/nutrient mist - plants can be grown outside of soil which has myriad benefits (less water, less fertilizers, no pesticides, more varieties of plants, shorter crop cycles, more dense crop growth). The sensor system will provide people with valuable information about what is going behind the scenes with their plants. It will record changes and will allow for comparisons between different growing environments for different types of plants. In future iterations of the project, the system will have the capacity to be semi-automated for ease of use.
The Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury tested the system with a group of students as part of their their activity period for STEM research blocks within the new curriculum for the school. In June 2012, the United States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan came to visit the school and see the SeedPod system in use.
We are now working on SeedPod V2. Stay tuned for further details…