IKEA, maker culture, and hydroponics


We talked earlier about How the Competition May be Hard to Spot. Food growing has taken on a life of its own and everybody has new ideas and techniques they want to talk about. Eliooo is a book which describes how to make a hydroponic system for growing food from parts bought at the local IKEA.

Two huge takeaways for me are, the explosive growth of the “maker culture”, or DIY (Do it yourself) movement and the mainstreaming of hydroponics. Oh, and one other takeaway. This is all done without the need of a local garden center. It’s only a matter of time before IKEA seize on this and start selling vegetable plants. They already sell house plants.

When we first started talking about selling hydroponics here in July of 2008 it was considered esoteric and something only marijuana growers used.  No more! It’s going main stream and the problem for many garden shops is the people who are really interested in this stuff often think of places like IKEA, or Home Depot before they think of the local garden center.

The other important trend going on here is the "maker culture". The author of Eliooo, Antonio Scarponi says he wants to show how to make this out of stuff you may already have, or can buy cheaply.  How will you stay relevant when you need to sell "stuff" and these projects are more about ideas. How can you spread ideas and still make enough to stay in business? It will involve a new way of thinking and valuing what we do as horticultural professionals.