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Fighting Food Waste: Greens Grown Indoors

Words by
February 07, 2017
I began photographing food waste from my own kitchen...It was a way of becoming more mindful of what I was wasting and thinking about the landscapes that produce our food...
Food waste really gets to me. One-third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates and in rich countries, like Germany and the UK, the typical consumer wastes ten times as much as in developing countries. In the UK, around 100 kg of food per person, per year ends up in the bin, costing the average family about £700 (1,000 €). Even trying to become a mindful consumer I would regularly find myself wondering why there was a pile of slimy leaves wrapped in plastic at the bottom of my refrigerator, and feel bad about it.

I began photographing food waste from my own kitchen and that of friends’, making images that looked like landscapes. It was a way of becoming more mindful of what I was wasting and thinking about the landscapes that produce our food, about the ecosystems and waterways that are degraded by commercial agricultural production.
In summer 2015, Inhabitat sent me to visit Philips GrowWise urban farming research lab in Eindhoven where researchers are growing with LEDs to intensively produce tonnes of fresh food in constrained urban environments. I wondered if I could try that in my apartment at home, so when I discovered Bulbo I started dreaming about a lush, green, productive kitchen!
Phillips Grow Wise
photo © Liz Eve
The potential to shift from consumer to producer of vital greens excites me. I wanted to find out if I could become self-sufficient in salad and drastically reduce food and plastic waste.

The exciting thing about growing with LEDs is that it really allows you to maximise underused space and dark corners. Our apartment is on the ground floor of a Berlin Altbau and the ceilings are over 3.5 metres high. There’s plenty of space on the walls and above the kitchen cupboards for greens production.
Liz Eve Set Up
photo © Liz Eve
Two Quadra lamps, each with four elegant white ceramic pots and a nifty slow watering system and three Cynara bulbs arrived in our small Berlin kitchen and we were instantly impressed with the design thinking that has gone into them.

These are beautifully made objects designed to make growing easy. We chose minimal white pots to blend in with the walls and grey cord for the terracotta Cynara lampshades to match our minimal grey kitchen. The plants will bring the colour.

I also thought about the energy we use just lighting up our kitchen. Could the Bulbo lamps (and perhaps some candles) provide a nice low lit environment for eating dinner so that we could save energy and not even need to switch on our main lights?
Fighting Food Waste
photo © Liz Eve
In the next posts, I’ll be introducing the plants we decided to grow and why, plus documenting the design, installation and planting of the self-sufficient green kitchen.