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Can You Get Your Daily Vegetables from a Vending Machine?

Can You Get Your Daily Vegetables from a Vending Machine?

Vending machines are often equated with junk food. Chips, candy bars, salted peanuts; in a well-stocked vending machine, you can get it all. Why are vending machines so seductive? Because they’re convenient. Put in your money, make your snack selection and go. And while we can tell ourselves that we shouldn’t be snacking, sometimes we break down and fall victim to the allure of a quick food fix.

This quick access to snack food, which can be found everywhere from corporate offices to schools, is of course detrimental to our health, exacerbating our ongoing fight with obesity. Put out processed junk food and people will eat it.

Whether or not schools should even be allowed to have vending machines has been an ongoing debate, and while completely getting rid of vending machines might not be in our immediate future, this fall new government standards take effect, at least ensuring that those machines have healthier options than in the past.

In fact, there are some companies that are focused on healthier snack options, like H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending. But while organic and all-natural snacks are still better than a bag of Doritos, they’re still snacks. What if a vending machine wasn’t a snack machine at all? What if it served you vegetables?

In Chicago, one company is taking an entirely different route to do just that: serve salad from a vending machine. It’s called Farmer’s Fridge, and it’s actually much more than a vending machine. Actually the company prefers the term “veggie machine.” A kiosk made from reclaimed wood houses the machine, which features salads made fresh daily. And not just boring lettuce and tomato salads. No, these are salads packed with nutrients and a variety of ingredients, all served in glass jars (which of course you can recycle directly at the kiosk).

If you’ve ever made a salad and left it until the next day, you know how fast they go from fresh to wilted. That’s why the salads are not only stocked every 24 hours, but also made by layering the ingredients so that they aren’t mixed until the person who wants their lunch mixes it together. If any salads don’t get sold by the end of the day, they’re donated to a local food pantry.

With the concept and a kiosk in place, what does Farmer’s Fridge need now? “Any local farmers,” founder Luke Saunders told Modern Farmer, “we would love it if they got in touch with us.” Given the Chicago winter, that might be tough, but come growing season, maybe we can hope for veggie super machines all over the place.

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Photo Credit: midorisyu

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221 comments

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2:53PM PST on Feb 12, 2014

thank you for posting

3:40PM PST on Feb 11, 2014

This is great. I often look at vending machines, especially as I cross Europe, to gawk at the so-called "food" people eat. Have to admit I do miss the ease of grabbing a bite when I'm hungry but I've found I'm less hungry now that I'm eating better. Figuring out my sensitivity to gluten though pretty much makes everything fast or in a vending machine out. Dairy also causes problems so that's often a double out.

The only time I saw a vending machine with anything let alone everything I could eat was in a Naturopathic College. :D It was fab. The chocolate was all dark & fair trade & there was packages of various nuts without seasonings other than salt, & so on including raw nut & date bars.

Anyway, I just carry what I call "emergency food" for when I might need something such as when I'm waiting for a train. Oranges, sesame bars, nuts. The silly thing is wanting something when I see someone else eating. People are always eating in Germany, but not in Portugal (wow). The worst tho is London cause they bring fried chicken, sausages, & McDonald's on the buses. :( Stinky!

10:19AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

This is kind of brilliant.

8:43AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Thank you for sharing

12:41AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Thank you for sharing!

5:37PM PST on Feb 10, 2014

ty

6:52AM PST on Feb 10, 2014

Thank you.

6:06AM PST on Feb 10, 2014

Good concept

10:12PM PST on Feb 9, 2014

What a great idea! I've seen salad and fruit vending machines from time to time but this is taking it to a whole new level of awesome.

8:36AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Much as I like that concept I would rather not. I don't really know where those ingredients are coming from, since I have been avoiding soy I've found myself to be quite chemically sensitive, and discovered a new food allergy, Annatto, and I will not know if it has chemicals that it was sprayed with or if the cheese has Annatto (used as coloring, even some "white" cheeses have it too give it a off white color).

But just because I would rather not, doesn't mean someone else would rather do it. Just remember it has to remain with in a price range that kids will be able to afford.

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