Wouldn't it be cool (so to speak) if you could grow herbs directly in your refrigerator -- right in the kitchen? Well, a partnership between Swedish designer Hanna Sandstrom, Green Fortune and Whirpool could make that a reality: They've invented the Kitchen Garden Refrigerator.

The hydroponic appliance doesn't require a green thumb and, presumably, eliminates any issues with insects and diseases. It provides the necessary lighting for plants, waters them when necessary and basically baby-sits them, ensuring temperature, space, moisture and nutrition are optimal.

Grocery store-bought plants can thrive in the system, and, though it isn't clear how, the product description says they'll not only stay fresh but continue to grow in the refrigerator. Sounds a bit Dr. Frankensteinish to me, but I'll bite. You can even grow greens from seeds, which seems more feasible.

Sandstrom contends that since food often needs to be transported to consumers, the process "not only affects our world, but affects the nature of the products themselves (both ingredients and preservation techniques). By placing the site of production close to the consumer the system can change." 

And it can't get any closer than your refrigerator.

Says Sandstrom: "My design is integrated with the refrigerator, where lettuces and herbs are stored today. This is also a spot where the user can integrate with the cultivation in a practical way. The system very simply enables the customer to prolong the life of plants purchased in the supermarket by providing water and light automatically to assist growth. It can also be used to try to grow plants from seeds by simply changing one plate within the system, allowing the customers to explore and experiment when they have become more familiar with the equipment.'

Still no word on when the Kitchen Garden Refrigerator prototype will be available to the masses.

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The Kitchen Garden Refrigerator was designed by Hanna Sandstrom for Whirlpool (Handout Photo)