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Locally sourced and in-house restaurant grown food is becoming more and more desirable and important to restaurant goers. To respond to this demand for fresher more sustainable foods, some ‘hyperlocal’ restaurants have begun using soiless, on-site and urban gardens to supplement their kitchens. It doesn’t get much more local or fresh when fruits, vegetables, and herbs come from your very own plot.

Recently a Chicago based restaurant detailed in the Chicago Tribune how their in-house garden benefits their business. The restaurant features a 100-square-foot hydroponic garden where they grow mustard greens, basil, broccoli and more. Hydroponics is becoming a widely used way to grow food year round in areas or locations that do not have the land or the climate to use traditional farming and gardening techniques. Hydroponic cultivation involves using mineral nutrient solutions in water without the use of soil. With the proper lighting, nutrients, and equipment you can grow a fresh tomato or cucumber anywhere. Check out nutriculture for more information about hydroponic kits.

However, you don’t need fancy equipment to start growing! You may be able to start a garden just by using some scraps you have lying around. Potatoes can be grown in a bucket or waste bin and wooden pallets can be transformed into an herb garden. And you don’t need a lot of space either! A recent report from FAO reported that a well-maintained micro-garden of 11 square feet can produce as much as 200 tomatoes a year, 36 heads of lettuce every 60 days, 10 cabbages every 90 days, and 100 onions every 120 days.

The SRA is proud to report some of our members’ efforts to go ‘hyperlocal’. The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant, located in Edinburgh, has recently started growing their own produce on a one-acre site just outside the city. Similarly, The Table Cafe in London sources all of their fresh herbs and salad leaves from St. Mungo’s, a homeless service that maintains and cultivates several urban garden plots in the London area. These efforts have had a great impact on the restaurant, community, and environment.

So there you have it folks, there seems to be no excuse to not have a little garden of your own. Uber fresh food is being grown in cupboards, small plots of land (some within bustling cities), and rooftops. Not only will you attract consumers, delivery costs will be cut, and if that’s not enough… it’s eco-friendly! Even a small herb garden could make a big difference!