Forget all the things you think know about farming. If Boston natives Brad McNamara and Jon Friedman have it their way, farms may soon be moving to a city near you. In 2010 the two friends joined forces to address the inefficiencies of modern farming practices and worked to design a new and more sustainable method of growing crops. The two created a hydroponic farm that operates inside of a shipping container that can be installed in any location that has access to electricity and water. Using their new design, they founded Freight Farms, thereafter raising nearly US$31,000 through the crowd funding sight Kickstarter in order to produce the first unit.
The Freight Farm utilizes 40-foot-long shipping containers that are climate-controlled and lit by energy efficient LED lighting systems that are electronically monitored. Given its ability to grow a variety of 3,600 unique plant types, climate customization within the unit is essential. The company has created tools to monitor conditions within the container via smart phone app which updates the user with information regarding temperature and humidity within the unit.
The prefabricated Freight Farm has the potential to be installed in a wide range of locations such as vacant lots, leased properties, or underutilized recreation centers. A crate purchaser has the ability to create a Freight Farm structure that is stacked four crates high, and eight deep. The company claims that inexperienced farmers can achieve crop yields of 60%, while some experts have experienced yields of 95%. To increase the ease of use Freight Farms has been modifying its user instructions to provide more visuals that will simplify the process for all.
With a starting price tag of US$60,000 per crate, and US$180,000 for a solar powered variant, the Freight Farm is still largely expensive for the average market consumer. However, the company is currently working on creating distributor sponsorship networks that will allow for new farmers to try their hand at supply crops for regional food distributors.
Shanghai Metal Corporation currently provides a variety of new shipping containers that can be custom tailored based on customer requests. We hope that inspiring design like Freight Farm will encourage all to explore their own ideas for shipping container use.
If you already have an idea, but need shipping containers check out our current offerings, click here
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Source: Wong, Kristine A. “Can Tech Startups Change the Way We Eat?”Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 17 June 2014.