Compact, indoor units take the challenge out of farming, allowing urbanites to grow greens using their smartphones, and pick produce directly from their homes or workplaces.

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Sector: Food and Beverage/Technology

Founded: 2015

Based: New York

Imagine walking into your own living room to hand‑pick a fresh batch of greens for dinner. Brooklyn-based innovator Farmshelf is already making this a reality.


Its hydroponic indoor-farming units – the size of a bookcase – are radically redefining farm-to-table eating by bringing the farm into your home. Combining clean industrial design with state-of-the-art botanical science and engineering, the ground-breaking system allows people to grow sustainable crops with almost no skill required. You don’t even need soil; instead, greens grow in nutrient-dense water. It’s homegrown in the truest sense of the word.

“I wanted to grow my own food and make
it so easy that anyone could do it. I’ve always been fascinated by efficiencies.” Andrew Shearer, CEO

“I wanted to grow my own food and make it so easy that anyone could do it,” says Farmshelf CEO and co-founder Andrew Shearer. “The aim is to make a meaningful impact on the world’s food system.” As the pace of life continues to accelerate and global challenges to feed the world intensify, Farmshelf is making homegrown food accessible again – but in a far less time-consuming way. The vegetables grow two times faster and use ninety per cent less water than those grown using traditional agricultural methods – and because you only grow what you need, food waste is also minimal. Sensors and software maintain optimal conditions for produce to flourish, and a mobile app monitors the pH levels, climate and airflow. It also sends you a notification when it’s time to harvest the crops.

But what does this mean for the future of food? The partnership with Sansiri will allow Farmshelf to deliver a cost-effective, automated method of nutritious food supply to hotels, apartments and restaurants. With the ability to optimise the growth and flavour of various plants, locally sourced food can be grown anywhere. This reduces cost, space and carbon footprint. “Sansiri is supersonic in terms of innovation and is pushing the future of what residences and city living can be,” says Shearer. “Whenever you talk to them they’re asking about how we will live, and they know their customers so well.”


The two companies align in their belief that everyone has the right to enjoy healthy, nutritious food – no matter where they live, work or travel.


“By partnering with Sansiri, not only do we gain a partner who will help us realise products but also a partner who will integrate them into living spaces in beautiful ways,” Shearer says. Together, Sansiri and Farmshelf create a recipe for a fresher, tastier and greener future.


Andrew Shearer


Q: How does redefining farm-to-table change urban life?

A: In one way, we’re turning back the clock. Not too long ago, we lived in an agrarian society. Today, less than three per cent of people work in agriculture, resulting in a disconnect with food, waste and subpar quality. We’re bringing back that connection.

Q: Do you think good design can alter behaviour?

A: Yes – our design goal was to invent for the future of food, and we believe that Farmshelf will drive businesses and consumers to participate with excitement in sustainable and healthy living.

Q: What’s your favourite way to use Farmshelf produce?

A: We love to add opal basil to a watermelon and feta salad, or make an almond pesto with bronze fennel.

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