Shipping container farms is an interesting development that’s gaining popularity in urban areas and specifically with restaurants who want to provide locally grown produce to their customers.
Shipping Containers re-purposed for mini farms or grow rooms are secure, moveable and most importantly not affected by the weather or pests, with the added bonus that this ultimately reduces food mileage.
Some of the figures being quoted for the ‘farm in a box’ concept suggest 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 year in a hydroponic environment. If the crops are stacked 5 high, the yield increased 5-fold. Numbers being quoted also cite a sizeable 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 growing environment.
Will urban shipping container farms be a commonplace sight in 20 years time? Can shipping container farms help in developing countries and very remote locations?
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. We envisage that shipping container farms will be used mainly by restaurants and some specialist food retailers who want to offer customers super fresh produce with virtually zero food mile.
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 or ‘TerraFarms’ as they are calling them. Local Roots sells to wholesalers, restaurants and even SpaceX. We even hear that the United Nations is now preparing to field-test the shipping container farm concept as well.
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 are thinking about building a shipping container farm please get in touch as 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 contact us to discuss further.
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