According to the 2016 ReFED Report: A Roadmap to Reduct U.S. Food Waste by 20%, consumer-facing businesses and homes represent 80% of all food waste. Furthermore, home waste represents roughly two-thirds of total lost Economic Value,due to high volumes of waste, the higher cost of food sold at retail, and the highvalue of meat — a popular consumer purchase item. USDA research cites microgreens are up to 40x MORE nutritiously-dense than their mature counterparts. See how growing nutritious, delicious food at home can be made fun and convenient with HAMAMA; while reducing food waste!
Please tell us more about HAMAMA?
HAMAMA products let you grow your favorite leafy greens and herbs in less than 10 days! You plant a Seed Quilt in the MicroGrow Kit and add water once. You harvest your plants as seedlings (often called microgreens) when they’re at their most flavorful and nutritious! The goal is to make growing your own food accessible and easy.
What about HAMAMA products makes them so easy to use?
The beauty is in the Seed Quilts, which combine seed, grow media, and humidity control into one convenient package. Thanks to Seed Quilts, there’s no preparation, mess, or confusion involved in the microgreens growing process.
What inspired you to launch HAMAMA?
We saw a need for an accessible way to grow food at home. After talking to many people and testing several concepts, we narrowed in on a few important factors that would make growing food at home a no-brainer. The product would have to be affordable, easy to use and re-use, small enough to incorporate into your space, and bountiful enough to justify the cost and space required.
Have you been busy with the holiday season?
We launched our website and online store (www.hamama.cc/shop) at the beginning of this December. We’re happy that a lot of people will be getting MicroGrow Kits and Seed Quilts from Santa this year 🙂
You recently won a first place prize at a Food Hackathon. Congratulations! The Culinologist is curious to know more about that experience and how it continues to be helpful.
Yes, the Food Hackathon was an awesome experience! At that point, we were finishing Seed Quilt development. The theme of the hackathon was healthier kids. We came up with a crazy, fun application of Seed Quilts as a part of a growing toy. The Salad Sultan lets kids grow, wear, and then eat microgreens! The toy would expose kids to healthy flavors early on and keep them engaged with growing by including the added benefit of getting to wear their creations! The hackathon opened our eyes to a whole new set of possibilities for impactful applications of Seed Quilts.
What are some ways HAMAMA reduces food waste?
We always find our salad or microgreens from the grocery store going bad in our refrigerator before we can eat them all. It’s a waste of food and money! The shelf life of microgreens is particularly bad, and sometimes you even see them going bad on the shelf at the grocery store. Having living microgreens at home means you can harvest what you want to eat when you want to eat it – and leave the rest growing until you do want to harvest.
Can you talk about some “speed bumps” you might come across as HAMAMA enters the market?
Getting people to realize IT’S SO EASY to grow your own food! People who don’t think they have a green thumb or enough time/space/expertise often see any growing product and dismiss it. We have to get the message across that anyone can use our product successfully.
In terms of regulation, there are fewer hurdles than a CPG or other food company might encounter, as we sell packaged seed rather than a final food product. With the Seed Quilts, we do have to follow seed labeling and selling regulations.
How did you hear about the Research Chefs Association?
We learned about the RCA from Philip Saneski at the Food Hackathon! We find the RCA and The Culinologist very exciting because we love the intersection of food, science, and art. We’ll be following especially because we’re looking to connect with others in the industry interested in bringing innovations in growing food to their customers and peers.
What is your favorite food? Favorite food with microgreens?
We love breakfast! So whether breakfast is eggs on toast, hash browns, or a sautéed mushroom scramble, we love to garnish with salad mix or radish microgreens to start the day right!
What is HAMAMA’s long-term vision?
Seed Quilts can make any surface edible. We first invented Seed Quilts to grow microgreens at any angle, which allowed us to create edible living walls or an edible sculpture like the Salad Sultan. We also see Seed Quilts enabling new types of growing systems, living fashion and artwork, more streamlined home growing, and less labor-intensive planting and harvesting in large-scale farming operations. Down the road, we want to see Seed Quilts used to their fullest potential across a variety of applications.
Where can we find you?
To find us in person, we’re often at food-related Meetups in San Francisco, prototyping in the garage, or roaming at farmers markets. You can also get in touch with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
HAMAMA was founded by Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, two MIT mechanical engineers who previously worked together as researchers in controlled environment agriculture.