The next frontier in green: vending machines?   »

If you’ve ever been to Japan, chances are you’ve seen some pretty bangin’ vending machines. Ever on the cutting edge, a company in Japan has now developed a vending machine that not only vends but grows fresh produce! The “Chef’s Farm” runs about $90,000 to purchase, but with the ability to harvest/vend 60 heads of lettuce per day (without sunlight even), the initial investment can be recouped in about five years.

Now, I don’t know a lot about food-access issues in Japan, but I know that in the U.S., access to healthy, fresh food is a real issue, particularly for a lot of people in low-income urban environments. It’s a complicated issue, and one that obviously won’t be solved by a vending machine that spits out lettuce, but the implications of this type of both farming and selling could, this Vegansaur thinks, be pretty awesome for some of our underserved communities. Where space, especially space suitable to grow food, is at such a premium, and where time is so short, having vending machines that double as gardens providing fresh, nutritious vegetables at any time of day or night seems like a pretty great idea.

Hopefully, the developers of the Chef’s Farm will be turning their attention to more of these creations. I, for one, would be stoked to be able to run out in the middle of the night and grab a head of fresh organic kale, plucked just for me by a robotic appendage. Ah, the future is delicious!

[image of “Chef’s Farm” vending machine via Tech-On!]

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