The Farmer’s Fridge vending machine has taken the art of convenience food to a completely new level. Instead of offering processed, body-wrecking junk in environmentally-unfriendly wrappers, the Chicago kiosk is stocked with fresh veggies in recyclable and reusable toxin-free containers. Resembling more of a produce stand than a snack-dispenser, the exteriors are made from reclaimed wood sourced in Illinois. All major credit cards are accepted, and each salad, parfait, and vegetable stick is vetted according to standards set by the Environmental Working Group, and sourced to be as local and fresh as possible.
Just like your local produce stand, the Farmer’s Fridge is stocked every morning at 5am with locally-sourced, seasonable produce. All meals are housed in phthalate and BPA-free plastic containers that can be recycled or returned for reuse. As an added bonus, the packaging has a low oxygen diffusion rate, keeping the ingredients fresher for longer. Product images and ingredients are clearly posted, and touch screens make it easy to redeem coupons or email receipts. The entire contraption operates on only $10 worth of electricity a month, and offers tasty treats from Greek yogurt and berries to pasta summer salads and cauliflower fried rice.
As an added bonus to creating healthier alternatives to a bag of chips and soda for lunch, the Farmer’s Fridge offers $1.00 discounts for food sold after 6pm. Items that remain unsold by the end of the day are donated to a soup kitchen, ensuring that the hungry get fed and precious resources don’t end up in the landfill. Farmer’s Fridge also offers a weekly meal plan that can be delivered right to your door twice a week.
Currently, there are two Farmer’s Fridge locations in Chicago – the Garvey Food Court and Lake Forest Tollway Oasis. For a full menu (or even some recipe inspiration), check out their official website.