Micropod is a New Zealand-based start-up that’s helping fuel this re-emergence of growing your own food by offering simple, dirt-free plant systems that offer nutritious food even in a small space.

Co-founder and engineer Jeff Xu set out to design the best way to grow microgreens after discovering their health benefits but finding growing them the traditional way hard, messy and low yield.

The result is the Micropod. It allows you to grow microgreens on specially designed seed mats on a kitchen bench or windowsill within a week – perfect for small or urban environments.

“We designed this to be as simple as your Nespresso machine. Our seed mats are like coffee pods, and you can now have a continuous supply of microgreens on your kitchen bench,” he says.

Micro goodness

Microgreens are the smaller versions of vegetables like broccoli, kale, rocket and pak choi.

“Because the plants are small and focused on their own health and growth, they have up to 40 times the levels of vitamins and contain higher levels of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes and key minerals than regular veggies,” Xu says.

The initial response to the start-up, which launched in 2016, has been positive. It sold out of its pre-launch in the first couple of days and is seeing record sales each week. While the company is still in a growth phase, the goal is to take Micropod global.

“In big urban centres, where apartment living is the norm and there is no space to have your own garden, people still want safe and sustainable food. Micropod could have a big impact.”

It is a growing trend

Xu says the product fits into a global trend of growing your own fresh, spray-free and sustainable food. In 2018, the New York Times reported that, of the 6 million people in the United States who took up gardening as a hobby in 2016, 5 million of those were Millennials.

“In the age of Uber Eats and prepacked processed meals, more and more people are returning to the idea of growing food at home and trying to give up all the waste, sprays and plastic of the produce aisle.

“Globally, we are seeing a move towards gardening and healthy nutrition. Micropod can really help unlock this. Even in smaller houses or apartments or when the climate outside makes outdoor growing challenging,” he says.

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