Grow Produce in Your Apartment with This Micro-Garden

An MIT-spun startup called SproutsIO lets you tend to fresh fruits and veggies indoors.


Photo courtesy of SproutsIO

In a tiny soil-free pod on your kitchen counter, you could be growing spinach, tomatoes, or whatever fruit or veggie your heart desires.

A startup out of MIT called SproutsIO wants to make gardening possible for city dwellers all year long. Available for pre-order on Kickstarter, the minimalist micro-garden is made up of a small white basin, an attached LED light, a camera for time-lapse growth photography, and a fog misting system. Through the use of hydroponics and aeroponics (methods for growing plants without soil) the device scales down sustainable food production on a personal level. Plus, it’s all controlled through your smartphone.

Users test their green thumb with a touchscreen, using the SproutsIO app to determine water, light, and nutrient levels. Depending on these settings, the taste of the produce can be altered—whether that’s to increase bitterness or sweetness or to adjust the color, size, or texture of the plant.

“The SproutsIO high-performance growing system simplifies the process, allowing anyone to grow their own produce anywhere, anytime, and with a fraction of the resources used by standard practices,” said SproutsIO cofounder and CEO Jennifer Broutin Farah in a statement. Farah founded SproutsIO in 2013 with her partner, Kamal Farah, after researching sustainable growing technologies while working in the MIT Media Lab.

Last year, SproutsIO launched a Tastemakers Pilot Program to optimize kitchen gardening in restaurants across the city. SproutsIO gardens were installed at No. 9 Park and Menton, where chefs like Barbara Lynch experimented with the customizable tastes of the growing produce.

A Kickstarter pledge of $559 will score you an early micro-garden at a reduced price before they’re put on the market. Visit to learn more.