With today's Smart Farm announcement, gardening startup Click & Grow unveils a plan to revolutionize both the way we view fresh food and how we access it.
At first glance, gardening might not seem high-tech or particularly smart, but we're following it closely anyway. Why? It's simple: while a raised flower bed outside or a potted herb plant on your porch is very nearly the opposite of smart technology, recent developments in sensor technology and the ubiquity of the smartphone for viewing data can take some of the mystery and difficulty out of growing your own plants and vegetables.
I first became acquainted with Click & Grow because of the Smart Flowerpot and Smart Herb Garden, which I wrote about briefly. The backbone of all three Click & Grow systems lies in a specially designed, nano-tech-based growth medium and system of sensors built into each pot that measure moisture content, temperature, and other factors. The idea is to create an environment where, with the help of data-driven user intervention, plants can grow successfully, no matter the conditions of the external surroundings.
Click & Grow's farming vision is expansive. The company says you can create a garden with Smart Farm composed of "a small 10-unit plant system to a farm with millions of plants." It also describes Smart Farm as appropriate for commercial or institutional customers, like restaurants or schools.
Smart Farm runs on wired electricity in the prototype photos it's released so far. Click & Grow doesn't mention a solar-powered version. We also don't have pricing information yet, but thanks to the product's scalable nature, expect that it will vary depending on the configuration. According to Click & Grow's projections, you can buy the Smart Farm starting in March 2014.
We will update this post as more information becomes available.