Start-up company Freight Farms takes old “reefers”, refrigerated shipping containers used to transport cold cargo, and repurposes them as balmy, humid chambers for growing crops.
Each box measures 320 square feet. The inside of each box is kept at a temperature of around 63 degrees Fahrenheit and filled with hundreds of vertical towers on which plants are grown.
The most important feature of these freight farms is their LED strips, which allow for plant photosynthesis without the sun and are relatively cheap. Each container also has a water circulation system, 8 gallon-size tanks of liquid fertiliser, and a propane tank for CO2.
The setup allows for these farms to operate at only 80 kWH of energy and 10 gallons of water per day. Crops can be produced in as few as six weeks.
Freight Farms, founded in 2010, is one of a number of start-ups that has received funding in recent years for the development of “disruptive” agricultural technology.
The company has received $5 million in funding and plans to sell 150 farms in total this year, priced at $80,000 each. However, rather than operating its own commercial farms, it aims to provide the infrastructure for other businesses, pooling the data gathered from each one.
Most of the existing 60 freight farms can be found in unlikely places in the middle of cities, such as warehouses, alleyways and underneath flyovers, but traditional farmers have also started using them, as a way to supplement their income.
(Source: Wall Street Journal)