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The Sprout Pencil allows you to grow tomatoes and other plants by sticking the pencil into moist soil

Sprout Pencil

(NaturalNews) Before you think about throwing away your school-aged child's stubby little pencil, you might consider doing something more useful with it first, like growing flowers, herbs or vegetables.

Introducing the Sprout pencil, a device made of cedar that uses graphite and clay in place of lead. Launched in Denmark and then the U.S. and the United Kingdom, the pencils come with a seed capsule embedded inside so that they can be planted in soil and watered to produce herbs or veggies.

The UK's Daily Mail reported that there are some 20 variations of the Sprout pencil from creators Sprout World, including tomato, mint, basil and rosemary. The seed capsules are embedded inside the end of the pencil (eraser end) and fitted with three seeds of the same variety to boost the success rate. As the pencil is watered, the protective capsules are designed to dissolve, thereby exposing the seeds to soil.

The Daily Mail reported further:

"The pencil can then be kept in the soil and doubles up as a plant marker because they have the name of the seed carved into the side.

"Sprout's makers Sprout World claim that seeds should begin sprouting within a week. Each Sprout package comes with a planting instruction card.

"The makers warn that if a user spills liquid on the Sprout, or places it in their mouth, the tip will begin to dissolve."

Started as a grad school project

"Unfortunately Sprout doesn't know the difference between accidental and intentional watering, so if you accidentally wet your Sprout it's time for planting," the manufacturer says. "We've worked hard to make a resilient seed capsule but it's a tradeoff between resistance to accidental spills and plantability."

Added spokesman Michael Stausholm, "Sprout was designed in a graduate project course at MIT. It was inspired by the design prompt to make a product for the 'eco-friendly office of the future.'

"We wanted to take a product that didn't get any special attention, the humble pencil, and use it as a tool to remind people of the eco-impact they could make," he continued. "The eco pencils took three months to create and achieved more than £25,000 in funding from a Kickstarter campaign."

He said that Sprout Europe, "launched Sprout pencils in retail in Denmark in June 2013 as the first market globally to test and have been hugely successful with over 100,000 sets sold in a relatively small market. We have seen massive re-ordering from customers, people seem to really love the Sprout and the fact that it has so many practical uses.

"I also think the fact that it is 100 per cent sustainable and is handmade from only natural materials, makes it more appealing," he added.

A pack of eight pencils is available online for about $20.

Food Rising Mini Farm Grow Boxes are also a low-tech food source

Another great idea for growing food in a low-tech, high production fashion is the Mini Farm Grow Box, from Food Rising, a 100-percent 'off the grid' technology developed by NaturalNews editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

He is quick to point out that the system is "open source" – that is, it is free to anyone who wants to build it. All of the blueprints and plans are provided at no charge (though NaturalNews does sell systems that it builds for customers who may not have the time or expertise to build their own).

"Because without food freedom, you have no freedom at all," Adams says. "If you depend on the system to feed yourself ... then you're really a slave to that system of food" production, which includes preparation, delivery and the chemicals contained in many GMO and processed foods.

"This allows people to grow their own food simply, easily and super-affordably," Adams said, and in a manner that uses far less water than traditional agriculture – a huge plus for anyone living in areas like California, Nevada and Arizona that have been stricken by drought.






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