garden produce

The problem with access to fresh, healthy food is that the people who need it most are often in locations where it can’t be easily grown. A new project called lifePOD might be the answer.

lifePOD greenhouseIn response to food “deserts,” where it’s often the poorest of communities that have the least access to healthy or fresh foods at affordable prices, PODpioneers, a group of environmentally conscious entrepreneurs, has designed the lifePOD system.  A lifePOD is a portable, small greenhouse structure that can grow everything from fish to mushrooms to fruiting plants all under one tiny roof.

How can organic protein and produce be raised in one small area year round? The answer is a mix of hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic growing techniques, along with an anaerobic digester system.

The aquaponic system farms fish or other seafood, and the water from those tanks then supplies nutrients for produce grown hydroponically, which are plants that are grown without soil. Aeroponic gardening grows plants in which roots are suspended in air as a nutrient solution is delivered to them through a mist.

The whole lifePOD system uses no soil, only innovative gardening techniques that are thought to be the answer to future food crises around the world.

lifePOD greenhouseHow big does a greenhouse have to be to hold three varied forms of food production? Incredibly, only the size of a large shed. A typical lifePOD system is between 150 to 200 square feet. With a unique combination of vertical and horizontal farming, there’s more bang for the buck in the small space.

The lifePOD system is seeking crowdfunding for their new solution to solving the food desert problem. The first system is expected to be built on a plot of donated land in a community 20 minutes west of Montreal, Canada in May 2015. On average, it costs $20,000 to build a lifePOD. Systems feature;

  • insulated walls
  • floor
  • overhangs, and
  • tanks for aquaponics with plumbing, electrical and control systems.

The lifePOD initiative is a collaboration of students in the fields of Urban Studies, Biochemistry and Engineering, mentored by the creator of the SolaRoof, Richard Nelson.

Feature image courtesy of James Mann

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.