Farm of the future

| May / June 2006

Prepare to be awed by the latest high-tech gizmo to wow scientists and offer hope for ending world hunger: a black plastic box.

That's right -- meet EarthBox, a two-and-a-half-foot-long by 15-inch-wide 'gardening system' made of recycled plastic. It's as remarkable at growing organic flowers and vegetables (while using less water than conventional gardens) as it is ordinary looking. According to the Chicago Reader (Jan. 20, 2006), the unassuming invention caused a stir at NextFest 2005, Wired magazine's annual celebration of technological innovation, and is a key component of the Growing Connection, a joint United Nations and American Horticultural Society antihunger project.

Plants in EarthBox grow in a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite. The unit is self-watering and self-contained, which eliminates the possibility of vegetables wicking up toxic chemicals from contaminated soil, and users report reaping bumper crops.

Perhaps best of all, this gardening marvel invented by a Florida tomato farmer is inexpensive and can work anywhere, from a tiny apartment patio to a Growing Connection pilot project in Ghana, where it is currently in use. And since it doesn't need to be watered daily, it can turn even the brownest thumb green.

Get more information or your very own EarthBox at

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