Hydroponic Farming with Shipping Containers

When you hear the phrase “hydroponic farming,” one specific and mostly illegal kind of plant comes to mind. But all over the country, hydroponic farming is benefitting urban communities enormously by providing them with access to fresh, low-cost produce. The secret to producing more crops for less money in an urban environment? Shipping containers.

1. Shipping Container Farms Grow More with Less Space

Shipping containers can be outfitted with all the right tools for hydroponic farming. In this system, plants are grown in a mineral nutrient solution, rather than soil. This solution, along with special UV grow lights, helps the plants to grow more quickly and abundantly than traditional soil-based farming. One farmer was able to grow 30,000 heads of lettuce in one month—80 times the amount typically grown with traditional farming in the same amount of space.

Shipping Container Hydroponic Farms

Photo courtesy of modernfarmer.com

2. Shipping Containers Can Go Anywhere, and Serve Anyone

One big issue for low-income members of urban communities is a lack of access to fresh produce. Not having fresh fruits and vegetables means nutritional deficiencies for already disadvantaged community members. Because a shipping container equipped with hydroponic equipment can go anywhere—a vacant area in the inner city, a community center parking lot, someone’s driveway—it makes fruits and vegetables more accessible. In San Antonio, hydroponic farmers partner with the San Antonio food bank to make sure that low-income members of our city get the fresh produce they need to stay healthy. This can help reduce rates of obesity, and obesity-related illnesses like diabetes.

Hydroponic produce shipping container farm

Photo courtesy of the Rivard Report

3. Shipping Containers are More Eco-Friendly than Traditional Farms

Because a shipping container farm relies on one closed system to grow food, rather than a large plot of land, it has a reduced impact on the environment. It’s even possible to create a small, closed hydroponic ecosystem that produces both fish and produce, without adding nutrients or fish food. The fish nibble on the roots of the produce, and their waste provides the plants with nutrients. Ultimately, both the fish and the plant become healthy, organic food available wherever hydroponic farming is possible.

UV lights in Hydroponic Shipping Container Farm

Photo courtesy of phys.org

If you’re looking to make some extra cash, serve the underprivileged, help the planet, or just grow some salad on demand, shipping container farming is your answer. Find out what else shipping containers can do, and how they can help your business.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/24/technology/upstart30-freight-farms/
http://therivardreport.com/city-council-makes-urban-farming-legal-throughout-city/
http://phys.org/news/2016-01-farm-shipping-reused-fresh.html
http://modernfarmer.com/2015/11/freight-farms-cornerstalk-farm/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics

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