You've probably seen or heard about some of Japan's really odd vending machines, but this comes as a nice surprise. These portable garden vending machines can grow quite a bit of vegetables, making them an interesting solution to urban environments where growing vegetation can be a problem.
One of the reasons why this is a good use of technology is because these machines can actually grow produce without any sunlight. This is mainly due to 12 40W fluorescent lights housed in a machine. The Chef's Farm, as it's called, was created by Dentsu and can produce 60 heads of lettuce— an extraordinary 20,000 heads per year! All in all, Dentsu estimates that users will be able to recoup their initial investment in about five years.
At 13'W b 4.6'D x 7.5'H, the intended audience for the machine are restaurants. Chef's Farm comes with five nutri-culture beds, which are each installed on long and thin metal frames. The lettuce seeds are planted in sponges in frames that have to be moved manually.
The machines went on sale last summer in Japan for around $90,0000. The lighting equipment, culture solution, and temperature can be controlled for each bed, and five different vegetables can be cultivated at the same time.
This would be pretty cool to have in America. While using local farms is also a great food solution, for some people it's not always possible, so this might be a good alternative.