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The AEVA indoor garden system is a simple, sustainable, and cost-effective way to grow your own nutritious food at home.

Food waste is a massive problem in Canada. About 40–60% of all food grown gets wasted — which is not good in a scenario where we’ll need to grow 70% more food by 2050 to feed an ever-growing population. With farmable land already stretched to the limit from fertilizer runoff, pesticide use, and land transformation, how do we grow healthy, nutritious food to feed more people without creating more waste?

These are the questions that Conner Tidd, Co-Founder of Just Vertical, and his partner Kevin Jakiela were asking themselves as graduate students at the University of Toronto. For Tidd, an avid supporter of sustainability and green living, it was the wasted cilantro he bought for his tacos that started gnawing at him. “I found the only kind of cilantro I could get at the grocery store was that big, one-sized bunch so I’d end up using only half of it while the other half turned to slime in the fridge,” he says.

Conner Tidd and Kevin Jakiela
Co-Founders of Just Vertical, Conner Tidd and Kevin Jakiela.

Indoor hydroponic garden system solves many problems at once

The two partnered on a graduate research project to develop a solution — a simple, accessible, waste-free hydroponic indoor garden system that would allow people to grow food at home. The AEVA indoor garden system, a spinoff from their research, lets people do just that. People can save money growing their own fresh produce at home while reducing water use and saving transportation costs and carbon emissions. Best of all, it eliminates food and packaging waste. “You can harvest just what you need for that meal and the rest keeps on growing,” says Tidd.

Affectionately referred to by Tidd as the “Nespresso of growing food,” the AEVA system is a simple, plug-and-play device. “You plant by putting a small seed pod in, adding water and nutrients, and then you grow,” says Tidd. In addition to being functional, the AEVA is nice to look at. “We designed it with furniture and décor in mind, so it’s not just a bunch of lights, tubes, and plastic, it’s a piece of living art for the home,” he says.

The AEVA can produce about a handful of greens a day — enough to satisfy most people’s needs for herbs and leafy greens, though it’s not restricted to growing lettuce and herbs. It can grow virtually any type of produce that grows above ground, such as tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, and strawberries. “We grow over 200 different varieties of food, including about 12 different kinds of basil,” says Tidd. 

We designed it with furniture and décor in mind, so it’s not just a bunch of lights, tubes, and plastic, it’s a piece of living art for the home.

Conner Tidd, Co-Founder of Just Vertical

A made-in-Canada solution

AEVA is made in Canada with sustainably-sourced materials. “We’ve also made efforts to have as little waste as possible in the product and process, so all the pods are reusable and built to last. The entire system is meant to last more or less forever,” says Tidd. 

Using AEVA, anyone can be an indoor gardener, and not only save money and the planet, but enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of having plants in the home. “I think it also helps reconnect with our food and realize that when we throw out that last bit of spinach, or in my case cilantro, we’re throwing out what actually went into it — not just our money but all the farmers’ efforts and inputs,” says Tidd.

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