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LOKAL is a prototype of a salad bar whose ingredients are grown indoors, locally and vertically, using a hydroponic farming system

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SPACE10—IKEA’s external future-living lab—popped up in Shoreditch during last week’s London Design Festival.

By Simon Caspersen
Director of Communications
Photographer: Rory Gardiner and Nicklas Ingemann
Sept 2017
(Must see. Mike)

We used the occasion to test a new food concept, we’ve been working on, called LOKAL. It is not fully ready to be implemented in the IKEA business of today, but was received so positively by local Londoners, that we are exploring further.

LOKAL is a prototype of a salad bar whose ingredients are grown indoors, locally and vertically, using a hydroponic farming system, which was on public display throughout the week.

Two thousand salads
The purpose of the prototype was to test how Londoners felt about food grown hydroponically and, more importantly, whether they liked the taste of the microgreens.

Click image to see larger file.

SPACE10’s chef-in-residence Simon Perez and his team served more than 2,000 complimentary salads over the course of six days in London. Visitors had a choice of three dishes, each of which came with a salad dressing made with spirulina, a kind of microalgae.

SPACE10 surveyed 100 people about the salads—and the responses were even more positive than expected: 90 people said their salad was “delicious”—the highest possible verdict. Just one person didn’t like it.

Many of the comments received from people also lent strong support to the LOKAL concept:

“Why can’t this be everywhere?”
“A brilliant concept.”
“I love it—make it happen!”
“Really exciting concept—I love it!”
“It’s inspiring to see work being done and people attempting to change the food and restaurant industry.”
“Help me do this at home.”

The perfect spring day, every day
Hydroponic farming allows microgreens to be grown without soil, using nutrient-enriched water, LED lights and computerised automation—ensuring the plants can enjoy a perfect spring day, every day.

Thanks to hydroponics, microgreens can grow up to three times faster than in fields, using 90 percent less water. This method produces much less spoilage and can be done locally, making it much more sustainable when powered by renewable energy sources.

Fresh approach to food
Having trialled its LOKAL prototype in London, SPACE10 will next introduce sensors and machine learning, and connect the data from the microgreens with Google Home. That will enable people to “talk” to the greens and understand their growing conditions and nutrient needs.

See more photos of the event.