Shipping containers being used for farms is an interesting development that’s gaining in popularity for use in urban areas and by restaurants who want to provide locally grown produce to their customers. Shipping Containers are being re-purposed for grow rooms or mini farms.
Shipping container farms aren’t affected by the weather or pests with the added bonus that they ultimately reduce food mileage.
Some of the figures being quoted for the farm in a box concept are very interesting with the yield of a 40ft container (300 sq ft) being equivalent to that of about a 1-acre field. This is in part as you can plant and grow more than once per years in a hydroponic environment. If the crops are stacked 5 high, the yield increased 5-fold. Numbers being quoted also cite a sizable reduction in water usage, and 80% reduction in fertiliser usage coupled with delivery of crops that have a consistency of flavour thanks to the controlled environment within which the crops are grown.
Will urban shipping container farms be a commonplace sight in 20 years time? Can these Shipping Container Farms help in developing countries and very remote locations? Will it allow for specialist shops and restaurants to offer super fresh, ‘grown on site# produce? Hopefully the market will test these out and offer answers in the coming years.
Please note the above are figures that we’ve seen quoted. We have no way of verifying their validity. Source – Cropbox
Farming in the urban environment is a really interesting concept and one that we believe will gain traction in the future and we envisage that shipping container farms will be used mainly by restaurants and some specialist food retailers who want to offer customers produce with virtually zero food miles and the freshest on the market.
The shipping container farm can have 1 – 5 tiers of growing medium which is fed by an enclosed water system and nutrient tank. Also included is a climate control system, LED grow lighting and pH dosing systems along with monitoring systems that can be checked remotely.
Container farm companies are modifying 40ft shipping containers in to farms that are capable of producing the same amount of crops as about a 5-acre field (when using 5-tiers in the container).
Growcer is a company based in California who produce shipping container farms and one of their most recent projects was to provide their fully fitted farming units to rural Inuit communities in remote parts of Canada. This project has allowed the local community to grow produce that’s around 25% cheaper and it’s bringing jobs to the local community for the people responsible to growing the crops.
Being made from shipping containers makes these farms easy to move and ideal for use not only in the urban environment but in impoverished areas where growing crops is challenging.
Local Roots is another American company that is promoting the use of shipping container farms of ‘TerraFarms’ as they are calling them.
Local Roots sells to wholesalers, restaurants and even SpaceX and the United Nations is now preparing to field-test this concept too.
Whilst we have not yet been asked to supply shipping container farms in the UK we do believe its only a matter of time before the idea crosses over from the USA. If you do need a shipping container form fortunately we do have many years of experience converting shipping containers for any and every conceivable use and a hydroponic setup inside a shipping container will be a reasonably straightforward project for us. Please feel free to contact us if your looking to build or install your own shipping container farm in the UK.
Pictures are copyright their respective owners and used under ‘fair use’.