Grow Your Own Food in This Modular Raised Garden Bed
Green thumbs have long extolled the value of raised garden beds for their weed-reducing and water-retaining abilities, not to mention their capacity for growing herbs and vegetables almost anywhere. “The main thing is that they help you get your plants off the ground. So if your conditions aren’t ideal for growing, you can create a nutrient-rich soil and compost blend,” says Brian Shaw, who co-founded Planted—a New York–based company that provides resources and materials for cultivating your own food, including seedlings sourced from small, family-owned farms—earlier this year with brand strategist Anna Schiller and designer Jake Matatyaou. There are just a couple of problems: Raised garden beds typically don’t offer much protection from pests or climate control, as greenhouses do, and changing the layout can be an onerous task. So, Planted decided to make a version of its own.
Called Canopy, the customizable container features a modular, expandable, ergonomic design that fits into practically any space. (The first iterations will ship in spring 2022; those interested can sign up on its waitlist now.) Housed inside a lightweight aluminum frame, UV-protected polycarbonate windows—which feature vents for improved air circulation, hooks and wires for baskets and vining plants, and sliding doors on the front and back for easy access from either side—top a cedar base that features built-in storage. Inside, on a raised modular platform configurable with drip irrigation systems for easy watering, plants grow in wide rectangular containers, which can be easily moved around or swapped out.
“We’ve worked with designers, engineers, and plant scientists to refine every detail of Canopy,” Shaw says, noting that its user-friendly app provides real-time details about the structure’s temperature, humidity, and sun exposure. More than just an elegant alternative to traditional raised garden beds, Canopy makes it easy to produce food locally. “On average, our food travels fifteen hundred miles to reach our plates,” Shaw says. “Industrial agricultural practices are destroying biodiversity in our food systems. If we continue on the course we are on today, in ten years, seventy-five percent of our fruits, and fifty percent of our vegetables, will come from outside the U.S.” Anyone who’s ever bitten into a Brandywine tomato plucked straight from the vine or tried a forkful of newly picked kale knows how divine fresh food can be—and why it’s time to plant the seeds of change now.