PERNUG Project Improves Domestic Gardening and Nutrition

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) Food’s PERsonalized NUtrition through kitchen Gardens (PERNUG) project builds state-of-the-art hydroponic (water-based) vertical farming systems to grow a variety of food plants in domestic kitchens. PERNUG is in the process of developing products to help improve the nutritional value of plants grown at home and designing an app for consumers to access nutritional resources and recipes. 

The project’s initial focus is on enhancing the iron and vitamin B12 content in produce, because there is a growing population across the EU with a deficiency in these nutrients. 

How they do it: Consumers will be able to use the specially designed app to access the latest scientific information on nutrition and health and choose crops to grow based on their personalized nutritional needs. The PERNUG system will provide consumers with their selected crop seeds and the means to grow them at home, as well as biofortification products that will enhance the nutritional quality of the crops if necessary. The app will also provide healthy, tasty recipes that use the home-grown produce. 

The kitchen gardens will use a vertical farming model that is soil- and pesticide-free, uses 90 percent less water than traditional soil-based gardening, and can be sustained year-round. 

EIT Food is partnering with the following organizations to pilot and finalize the PERNUG project:

Pilot studies are now being conducted and focus groups held to gather consumer feedback on the kitchen gardens and the app before finalizing the products.

Note: Information available at the time of this writing does not specify the consumer costs associated with this project.

Mission: To address nutritional deficiencies by increasing access to plant foods of high nutritional quality. 

Major Funding: EIT Food (supported by the European Union)

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Unknown

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: PERNUG’s system will use a sustainable and personalized model of gardening and nutrition that supports the prevention of diet-related disease. 


Ubicenter A Philipssite 5 /34
Leuven (3001 Heverlee)

Core Programs: Domestic hydroponic gardens

Number of staff: Unknown

Number of volunteers: Unknown

Areas served: European Union 

Year Started: 2021

Project Leader: Paul Kroon 

Contact Information: Email:; 

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