The Ultimate Ikea Hack: A Hydroponic Farm

ikea hydroponic farm

Omar shelves and Samla storage boxes form the basis of a hydroponic growing system in Denmark.

James Clasper

The furniture chain’s wares work overtime at this experimental indoor farm.

Turns out, Ikea may move more meatballs than Billy bookcases. Last year alone, the Swedish home décor giant sold nearly $2 billion worth of food, so it follows that the company has a vested interest in the culinary space. To wit: This past summer, Ikea collaborated with Space10, a “future living” lab and exhibit hall in Copenhagen’s trendy Meatpacking District, on a project called The Farm.

A vertical hydroponic system built from metal Omar shelves, plastic Samla storage boxes, and LED Växer lights, The Farm aims to demonstrate that it’s possible to grow edibles anywhere—theoretically, in the furniture stores’ cafés—thereby ensuring freshness and reducing the environmental impact of long-distance shipping.

Though the experiment has already yielded romaine lettuce, pea shoots, parsley, and lots and lots of dill, Ikea has yet to announce plans to test the prototype in an actual store. Per a corporate spokesperson, the point is “inspiration, not product development.” For now, the company seems content simply to get people talking about how and where our food is grown. “We see a need to produce food in a different way,” explains Simon Caspersen, Space10’s communications director. “The United Nations estimates that global food production must increase by 70 percent over the next 34 years. We want to trigger a conversation about sustainable alternatives.” And, perhaps, start a flat-pack farm revolution?

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The Ultimate Ikea Hack: A Hydroponic Farm