I was walking near Cannon Street on my way to a site visit when I chanced upon @squaremilefarms installation of their vertical office farm, and I thought it the perfect opportunity to talk kitchen gardens.
Until relatively recently in human history, people had constant interaction with nature. Biophilia, our innate affinity with the natural world, is the most well-known aspect of wellness design, intended to address our psychological need to be around life and life-like processes.
Spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial for our mental and physical health. It can speed up healing and recovery time, boost positive feelings and reduce negative ones. It makes sense to incorporate the natural world within our interiors as much as possible.
No doubt everyone and their aunt has already caught onto these benefits with the rise in popularity of indoor plants. But why stop there?
Think about it; plants can also provide a healthy food source, so doubling down on the stress-relieving biophilic benefits of having plants within the home that also offer healthy food is a no-brainer!
But again, the benefits don't stop here. Gardening is an easy activity to share, so it's great for bonding and can promote family closeness. Planning, sowing and tending a kitchen garden offers a shared purpose for everyone. Working together on a meaningful project strengthens and reinforces social bonds whilst teaching kids valuable lessons about responsibility and providing an opportunity for them to achieve a sense of accomplishment. It also offers educational opportunities about where our food comes from and how we should respect it.
Whether you have land, a garden, or a few pots on a balcony, these are all great ways to grow your food. However, we live in the UK with very temperamental weather that is often wet and cold in the winter months, so unless you have a greenhouse or are a die-hard gardener, whatever the weather. The chances are you won't be growing for much of the year.
This is where the kitchen garden comes in. A relatively new appliance for the home market, it's essentially an automated garden within your kitchen. Where you can grow and harvest your food, kitchen to table, allowing you to enjoy tasty fresh herbs, microgreens and vegetables all year round.
The important word in all of this is automated. The more premium models provide plants with light, water and nutrients in just the right amount to make them thrive. This is excellent as it creates the optimum growing environment with the least effort, maximising your healthy food output. However, one thing to remember is that some of the benefits I've discussed above fall short, as the bonding and caring aspect is somewhat diminished.
Now, this may seem entirely inaccessible, given you require both the budget and room in your kitchen to integrate these fridge-sized appliances. However, there are more accessible versions on the market.
Should you want to reap the benefits of biophilia, grow healthy food and benefit the well-being of your family through reduced stress and increased social bonds. I have gathered my top kitchen gardens to suit most budgets and spatial requirements.