As consumers are looking for hyper-local produce, some agtech companies are already bringing it all the way home – right into the kitchen. Natufia is such a company that is offering an automated growing system called the Natufia Smart Kitchen Garden.
The Natufia Smart Kitchen Garden is a plug-and-play hydroponic system consisting of a nursery chamber and a growth chamber, the latter accommodating 32 plants which are provided with light and nutrient-rich water automatically. The user needs only to connect the electricity and water supply in order for it to work.
The Natufia Smart Kitchen Garden
Natufia is offering 40 different types of seed pods, including leafy greens, herbs, flowers, cherry tomatoes, and other compact crops. As the Smart Garden is roughly the size of a fridge, Natufia recommends growing crops with a maximum height of 50 cm.
With Natufia Kitchen Garden, the first step is to place seedpods in the baskets into the nursery, where they stay there for at least a week to germinate. When ready for transplanting, the seedlings are moved to the main chamber, where they will continue to grow in larger cups until harvested. Most varieties can be harvested after 30-40 days.
Focus on nutrition
As founder and CEO Gregory Lu explains, Natufia was born out of a desire and the need for nutritious, locally produced food. Natufia was initially established in Estonia, which is a major importer of fresh produce. Due to long distances traveled and oxidation processes upon harvesting, imported food often lacks nutrition and overall product diversity.
“If you go into a store to buy greens, it is very limited compared to what nature can offer. At Natufia, we can bring biodiversity into households through the variety of different types of herbs and greens- all without pesticides. Quality was my first motivation with Natufia,” says Gregory.
Tinted glass to optimize growth, avoid eye fatigue
While many potential home growers like the idea of growing food at home, a major concern is the LED lighting and how to optimize it for plant growth without being a nuisance. To address this, the Natufia Kitchen Garden is enclosed with a tinted glass pane which limits its transmission to the rest of the room and improves light use efficiency by the plants.
Additional features of the Natufia Kitchen Garden and affiliated products include the biodegradability of the seed pods, fabrication with recycled plastic and stainless steel, and rock wool-based growing.
Estonian-born, Saudi Arabia-based
While Natufia was initially established in Estonia, the company recently based itself in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). KAUST is a technological university and will serve as the base for Natufia’s research and development. “KAUST has invested in our company and given us access to resources like offices and labs, which are very useful for improving our technology. This helps us develop and accelerate at a much faster and steady pace ” says Gregory.
Natufia came first at the KPMG Private Enterprise Tech Innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia competition in 2021 and has won the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2021 advancing into the global finals this month.
Natufia has an established customer base in North America and Europe and is now on the mission to bring its smart Kitchen Garden into households around the world.