Although he was brought up in Alcira, and attended the Rey Don Jaime secondary school there, one of Joan Bosch’s most memorable memories is of his grandfather’s fields around Alginet, and of summers there helping to harvest green beans; a hard, sweaty, sunburnt summer job that probably decided him to study electronic engineering at UPV and a postgraduate in retail at UEV instead.
But he never forgot those arduous summers, and spent some time wondering how it would be possible to achieve the same goal of fresh, tasty food with less blood, sweat and tears.
The answer was Freshhy, which since 2014 has been developing ways to bring fresh, organic vegetables into everybody’s home, whether they understand the mysteries of turning seed into feed, or not.
The idea is to apply modern technology to nature, and to permit anyone who can buy a capsule to have their own, home-grown jungle of nutritious vegetables (and a couple of fruits; for the moment just strawberries and tomatoes, which are fruits, whatever the Mercadona scales would have you believe).
After an initial investment in a kind of hi-tech table, the customer need only buy a capsule, press a button and sit back and let it grow.
Joan knows all about the technology required, having spent his Erasmus days in Cologne, Germany working with Big Data and previously in Valencia with Mobile Apps. Moreover, he has the partners needed to bring his idea to fruition.
Carlos Coquillat has worked as industrial engineer for Ford and the spices company Carmencita and they met at Bankinter’s Akademia programme for Innovation, while Carlos Lozano specializes in IT from UPM, and has studied a master’s degree in Software engineering in Germany too.
Between them they are looking at various ways of turning everyday objects into vehicles for healthy, autonomous food production; objects such as lamps and waste paper baskets that could also bear a capsule ready to break on through to the other side.
Modern technology today seems to be aimed at producing big and fast, but as any farmer will tell you, plants also suffer from stress, and if their growth is hurried, their nutritional value will decline.
Freshhy wants healthy, happy plants that will wish you good morning and whistle while you go to work.
The project is attracting attention, and has already harvested two prizes; one from Valencia Polytechnic University (UPV), where the company is based as part of the Ideas Startup programme, and one from Climate Kic Accelerator, which promotes projects that help control global warming. Furthermore, last May Freshhy revealed its first prototype at II Congreso Nacional de CIOs organized by APD in Valencia.
For the future they are thinking about a collaboration with a Dutch company that produces seeds, and are looking at the production of edible flowers, increasingly popular among chefs today.
Of course you may prefer to toil in the fields as a way of dealing with the stress of work and studies, but if that is the case, you will have to look elsewhere.