5 Minute Farms | Jonathan Partlow
Written by Brendan Douglas
For most of us, worrying about where or when your next meal may come is not a concern. But for far too many across the globe, feeding themselves and their family is a daily struggle. After a decade of steady decline in the number of people dealing with starvation, world hunger is on the rise. Nearly 690 million people globally are undernourished. Some estimate that over 45 million people in the US alone, 15 million of whom are children, will experience food insecurity in 2021. Although most will not have to endure the horrors of starvation and may not fully understand the anguish for those that do, getting needed nutrients or food free of harmful chemicals is one common issue we all share.
Having grown up through some tough stretches in life in unstable environments which led to living on the streets at times in his youth, scientist Jonathan Partlow experienced the fear of not knowing when the next meal would be, as well as having to split a $6 bag of nutritionless, gas station nachos with his brother to survive. Jonathan never gave up and had the perseverance to put himself through college. After a life-changing decision to skip a class at Indiana University with formerly featured Creative Native Chris Myles, Jonathan’s vocation became clear. They switched classes that day to hear a man by the name of William Allen Sweet speak of food insecurity and of being able to feed 300 people in an empty lot in downtown Milwaukee.
Mr. Sweet spoke of using a traditional agricultural method, from making compost to everything else needed to have a garden in the ground outside. Hearing this only evoked more questions from Jonathan who critiqued the flaws that made it impossible for most people who did not have all the space or materials needed to acquire such a garden. The message Jonathan heard that day was, “You don’t need to grow plants because plants do that naturally. What you need is the environment for them to grow and get the hell out of the way.”
That message would carve a new path in Jonathan’s life; he has since made it his mission to find solutions to aid in ending world hunger and a means for every household to provide their family with chemical-free foods to cease dependence on the harmful and wasteful industrial food supply system and put an end to food insecurity.
“We can solve world hunger with Big Macs, Doritos, and gas station junk food. That’s not the same as food insecurity. Food insecurity is lack of access to local, fresh food that is healthy for the human body and brain,” explained Jonathan. “If you have crappy food, your brain doesn’t run as good,”.
After years of research, data, and collaborating and testing with other industry scientists, Jonathan is transforming the world of agriculture by tearing down walls to extend the scope of possibilities through micro gardening and the innovations of his 5 Minute Farms growing systems. Eliminating the need for pumps and filters and the concern for weather and soil conditions, his micro garden system provides everything necessary to start and sustain your garden indoors in less than five minutes with step-by-step instructions a five-year-old can follow. The hardest part about it is opening the box.
The goal of 5 Minute Farms was to make a material and substantive difference in the daily lives of everyone by making it possible for every person everywhere to have access to local, fresh, healthy food every day of the year in a way that was also great for this amazing planet that we all share.
Grow what you want, when you want, where you want any time of the year. Having no space is no problem. You can grow up to 5,000 plants per acre or as much in a 10x10 space as you can in an acre outdoors. Grow your leafy greens, herbs, flowers, or vegetables without herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides all year long. The 5 Minute Farms growing systems are made with recyclable material and designed to be reused and passed down to generations and shared with family and friends.
With our current food supply system, it is estimated that there are over thirty gallons of supplemental water used per plant from planting and processing to being purchased and washed at home before being consumed. With Jonathan’s growing system, water is only needed every thirty to forty-five days. There is no tilling, no flooding or drought, and all sustainable indoors. Plants continue to grow for months after harvesting from it, a process the team has dubbed ‘Harvest When Hungry.’ It not only saves the plant, but it also helps save the environment.