The furniture chain is getting into the sustainable farming industry, one restaurant kitchen at a time.

Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA is known for its simple, affordable furniture that populates dorm rooms and studio apartments across the country. Now, the furniture chain is hoping to get into the sustainable farming industry, one restaurant kitchen at a time.

The company—which has put further emphasis on becoming more environmentally sustainable—recently threw its support behind “The Farm,” a hydroponic garden that could potentially allow them to grow the food served at their stores directly inside the IKEA restaurants. The in-store cafes—known for their Swedish meatballs, cinnamon rolls and lingonberry everything—are just one small slice of the company’s $2 billion-a-year business. However, IKEA is hoping to use The Farm as a model for restaurants everywhere to take a more holistic, home-grown approach to the food supply chain.

The brand partnered with Space10, an independent “future-living lab” and exhibition space in Copenhagen, which acts as “an external innovation hub for IKEA.” According to PSFK, one Space10 employee compared the state of the environment to a sick human body, saying that the earth needs to time to rest and get healthier in order to recover from its current issues. The lab is hoping this DIY farming concept will provide some of that rest for the planet by moving gardens indoors and taking a little stress off the land. “We are looking into the potential of growing fresh, healthy food without chemicals much closer to consumption,” says Space10’s Simon Caspersen.

The Farm utilizes a variety of IKEA products in its design; The LED lights that power the hydroponic garden are from the store’s Rydda/Vaxer line, and IKEA-brand shelves and plastic bins are used to house the plant life. All said, 80 percent of the supplies used in The Farm’s initial model came from the company.

While The Farm is still in its early developmental states right now, in hopes to be eventually developed and tested in one of the chain’s restaurants—one day chefs, restaurateurs and home cooks across the world could be creating their own on-site gardens. A sustainably sourced food future could be just an IKEA trip away.

Image Credit: Alastair Philip Wiper
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