One 40-foot shipping container can achieve production equivalent to five acres of farmland.
Imagine growing strawberries in winter, or harvesting your own wasabi. What if you could customize the fruits and vegetables you ate– making them sweeter or more citric, for example. This is all possible, thanks to a modern and innovative project by Los Angeles company, Local Roots.
This creative idea uses 40-foot shipping containers as indoor growing centers called TerraFarms. According to creators, one container can achieve production equivalent to five acres of farmland. Brandon Martin, Local Roots VP of Business Development, said in an interview with Voyage LA:
“We chose this form factor for several reasons;
- The infrastructure exists to logistically deploy 40’ shipping containers on a global scale
- They provide a form factor that can be mass produced at scale
- Access to upcycle an existing abundant supply
- Tightly controlled environment.”
Local Roots vegetables-producing design uses hydroponic plants, which require less care than regular crops grown in soil. The water used in the containers is recirculated, using almost 99% less water than regular crop fields. Additionally, they installed a custom engineered LED power system, giving the plants the exact amount of energy needed to properly grow.
The company has also created software to keep track of the plants and attend to their specific requirements. The sensors are capable of monitoring water, nutrient and atmospheric conditions. CEO Eric Ellestad referred to the utility of the software as “almost a growing algorithm”. He said, “You can use that software platform to drive that farm as efficiently as possible.”
The containers could be brought anywhere, especially places experiencing food-shortages, or where access to fresh food is severely limited. The Local Roots initiative has been able to bring the farm to the city, all the while promoting the purchase of local products.
According to Martin, “Food production will need to increase 70% by 2050 to keep up with our global population growth. This challenge will require international collaboration utilizing many types of technology and ongoing innovation. Local Roots is one piece of that puzzle.”
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