Opportunities abound for creating a sustainable business in the new food economy, and with the rising demand for year-round local organic produce, developing an urban farm could be one answer for an ecopreneur looking to help build a strong local food system and generate an income.
But if you don’t have access to open space for farming, or the use of a greenhouse for year-round vegetable production, it can be virtually impossible to get started, unless you can build or buy an enclosed micro-farm for a growing space. We’ve previously covered this portable urban micro-farm, which integrates vermicomposting, aquaponics, and a heat and nutrient recovery system inside a shipping container, but there’s another great option for commercial urban farming.
Freight Farms offers a scalable commercial urban farming platform using upcycled shipping containers, which is said to enable high-yield crop production, no matter where you’re located.
“Profitable crop production has never been this easy. Freight Farms have eliminated the inefficiencies associated with commercial farming and streamlined every element of the growing process, from seed to harvest. Each unit is outfitted with advanced climate technology that creates the optimal growing conditions needed to maximize any harvest. The configuration of the system delivers high quality production at a low cost of operation and uses a fraction of the energy compared to traditional and greenhouse production. Unlike other methods of commercial farming that grow food by the square foot, Freight Farms grows food by the cubic foot. This allows up to 3000 plants to be harvested at one time in a single unit.” – Freight Farms
The Freight Farms system uses 40′ by 8′ shipping containers for the growing space, which are watertight and weatherproof, and can withstand extreme weather conditions, delivering the production yields of commercial greenhouses. These urban farming containers can be stacked to become a two story operation and get more crop production in the limited space available in urban areas, or located on top of a roof, and can be scaled up to fit the needs of each grower.
The company’s first product, the Leafy Green Machine, uses horizontal strips of LED bulbs to supply light to the plants, which are grown hydroponically, and includes a climate control system and remote monitoring devices and controls so that growers can adjust the conditions to remain at optimal levels. Each container, which is 320 square feet, is said to be able to produce 900 heads of greens each week, and costs about $60,000 (including equipment, seeds, and nutrients).
“Freight Farms produce big results for the local market. The state-of-the-art production technologies optimize the harvest cycle for any grower and puts food supply within everyone’s reach. The human centered design benefits a wide variety of users, including but not limited to; institutional foodservice providers, schools, restaurants, farmers, grocery stores, disaster relief efforts, wholesale produce distributors and developing communities. Freight Farms can be operated with minimal training and equipped with technology to optimize workflow. Users can monitor the unit remotely and control every element of the system from their mobile devices. Harvest support services are available for customers looking to maximize their growing potential.” – Freight Farms
Find out more about this turnkey scalable urban farming system at Freight Farms.