Hydroponics should already have the power to change how we think about food. It it possible to grow your own food in a specialized cell. So why can’t we? Perhaps I’m speaking for myself here, but I would be well prepared to spend several thousand dollars to purchase an automated hydroponics unit capable of providing me food for the rest of my life at virtually no cost. Water, and some nutrient solutions every few months. And perhaps a sun lamp so it can receive energy at night- though I suspect that might be counterproductive. Of course, that implies that I wouldn’t have to pay any attention to it. I don’t want to suddenly become a farmer.
The implication is that for the rest of my life, food is no longer an expense unless I want to buy something I really like. If I spend $30 a day on food, that translates into $10,950 in food expenses in one year. Assuming that I could take care of all my nutrition and sustenance needs with hydroponics, I might spend just $5 a day on “food enhancement” such as the occasional steak or box of cookies. This would slash the cost of food down to $1,825 per year. That gives you an extra $9,000 to go do other things with. Every year.
This is obviously a huge business opportunity. Here are my personal criteria for a hydroponics unit that I would buy: 1) Automated. I want to pick what’s growing and then forget about it until I feel like eating it. 2) Independence. I want to be able to grow such that, if I wanted to, I would never have to go to a grocery store. This includes seed-sufficiency as well. Anything less means the product is deficient. And 3) Quality and flexibility. I want to be able to grow many different types of plants, and I don’t want them to be tasteless and pathetic astronaut-paste. It should taste good. And if I want to grow peppers, berries, leeks, whatever, that should be possible.
Now, this probably isn’t going to happen soon for a host of reasons. But none of them make sense in the Stoic understanding of the term. So where’s my personal microfarm?