Shipping containers and urban farming seem like an odd friendsship. However, the two are perfectly paired. Indeed, a shipping container farm may soon be located in a parking lot near you. Why? Interest in container farming has blown up in recent years. Internationally, start-ups, and DIYers are building and/or recycling shipping container farms that could soon be the solution to providing local produce to cities globally. Shipping containers provide fitting environments to grow produce, and when fitted with water, lighting, and nutrient delivery systems, shipping container farms are high yielding and easily adaptable.
How Does A Shipping Container Farm Work?
Two agricultural ideas are behind the freight farm revolution: Hydroponics and vertical farming. Shipping containers can be equipped with the technology and hardware that make both of these growing methods work.
In a shipping container farm, plants are grown vertically. Vertical grow walls are installed within of the container, with outlets for each individual plant.
The shipping container is fitted with a structure of pipes that provides water and nutrients to each individual plant. Since they’re grown hydroponically, the plants don’t require dirt; instead, the root systems form within the water.
Additionally, hanging LED light strips are installed in the container, which provides red and blue light to the plants. Blue and red light are used because they are the most beneficial to plant growth. In addition to lights, exhaust and venting systems are installed to manage the humidity within the farm.
This, in a nutshell, is how shipping container growing is supported, but there are a number of key benefits to growing food like this.
Why Are Shipping Container Farms Ideal for Urban Farming?
Firstly, shipping containers are great, because they are easily transportable. They can be shipped and moved from one location quickly, even productive farms can be moved if required. Additional benefits include:
- Space Savings: Most standard size shipping containers have a small footprint of 100 square metres. Yet, by using vertically aligned plants, space is maximized. A container can provide up to three acres of growing space within a small footprint. That’s why shipping containers are well-suited for urban farming.
- Water Conservation: Freight farms are highly controlled, with the precise amount of water and nutrients delivered to each plant. This process prevents water waste. In fact, most shipping container farms use just 11-38 litres of water each day – 80 to 90 percent less than traditional outdoor farms.
- Year-Round Growing: Shipping containers have controlled environments, which enables temperatures to be managed. Therefore, an indoor garden can produce in all seasons, no matter the outdoor climate.
- Environmental Controls: A shipping container farm does not have to contend with pests, plant diseases or fungi. It is a highly sterile environment, and that means plants can be grown pesticide-free.
- Faster Growth: Since growers can fine tune light, water and nutrients, food is grown faster. For instance, lettuce from seed to table can grow in about seven weeks in a shipping container, which is half the time of traditional farms. Once in full production, a typically shipping container farm can produce 20-45 kgs of lettuce weekly.
Container Farms and Greenhouse: A Growing Trend
In addition to the closed container garden, urban farmers are also experimenting with shipping container greenhouses, which use similar design elements.
Greenhouses replace the flat-top roof with a transparent pitched roof. Water and nutrient supply tubs are placed within the container and piped to plants above within the greenhouse. A metal grate floor is used to hold the plants above, with access from underneath. Like the container farms, the greenhouses also help to greatly reduce water use and use natural sunlight to grow plants.
Containers to Spec was established to deliver quality and service to the container conversion industry. Our staff and management strive to keep your requests trouble free, on time and at the highest quality. Containers to Spec are willing to discuss any form of conversions to containers to suite your needs whether it be for the mining, electrical, solo, power generation industries or any catering, living quarters, ablutions, etc. The scope is endless.
These shipping containers are similar to the MCC specifications. Weatherproof/vermin-proof louvers and circulation fans installed for ventilation. Floors are strengthened to carry the weight of the generators and transformers. Raised floors for easy cable access can be utilized.