The Groundfridge

Posted: May 28, 2016

Bomb shelter? Underground fort? Not really. But Dutch designer Floris Schoonderbeek's Groundfridge is big enough for me to pop a squat inside and go all Jabba the Hutt chowing down on the 1,100 pounds food and drink she so expertly designed it to store and preserve.

A 21st-century upgrade of the traditional root cellar, the Groundfridge has a storage capacity equivalent to about 20 European (or 6 American) refrigerators. That's enough to stash away 350 meals, and the bounty of a 2,600-square-foot vegetable garden. The latter represents Schoonderbeek's primary vision in developing the Groundfridge: she wants modern, urban gardeners to have a viable option for growing sustainable food sources they can continue eating yearlong, and during rough harvest periods.

The subterranean Groundfridge requires no electricity or other massive energy suckage to cool food (though you'll probably need to add LED strip lighting or the like so you can see what you've got down there.) Instead, the hand-laminated, critter-proof, tree-root-eschewing polyester globe uses an encompassing piped water system and the natural chill from deep soil to keep interior temperatures between 50 and 53 degrees F at all times.

At printing, the Groundfridge was available to early adopters in the Netherlands and Belgium. Schoonderbeek, through her Weltevree website, hopes to take it abroad by the end of 2016. Cost is likely to be around $16,000.

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