Innovators, pioneers and developers within the food or produce industry are trying to break boundaries when it comes to food production from growing plants or crops in the field but in refurbished or recycled shipping container vans. The modern twist on agriculture is designed to go past some of the known challenges, as well as restrictions that traditional farmers have faced in the past, like pests, limited seasons for growing crops and extreme weather.
By overcoming these types of limitations, the agriculture operation is capable of producing a lot of food crops, and grows, certain plants or produce in places that usually import them. By growing the food locally, the supplier will be able to cut out the long-distance travel that is necessary to transport these products to specific markets.
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According to Tom Lange Company vice president of sales and a known produce supplier, Jeff Moore, a shorter travel distance can provide a lot of benefits, like reduced transportation and operating costs, fewer empty shelves of groceries or markets, less waste, and most importantly, fresher products or produce.
The use of modern and innovative farming techniques is also being pushed all over the world. Markets and known retailers are planning to spend millions every year with farmers by the year 2025. As part of the plan, companies promised to help farmers implement cultivating methods that will make sure that they produce vegetables and fruits that the country has usually imported.
Companies that grow crops, fruits or vegetables in shipping cargo vans through the help of Aeroponics and hydroponics – techniques the help grow plants without using soil. These companies use uses nutrient-rich water to substitute soil, but beyond that, container agriculture is quite different.
Most farming units consist of five shipping containers, three are used for agriculture, one is used as a working station where they germinate the plants or as a post-harvest station, and one is used to house the temperature control unit.
Some farms that are based in the United States are family-run companies that started as a traditional farming company until they discovered that farming using container vans are more Eco-friendly, cheap, and economical.
Through nonprofit organizations that are focused on preserving the farming tradition, they usually work with other companies for farming units from refurbished shipping containers, automation of their software and hardware used in their container agriculture, and dealing with the production of their crops and produce.
With shipping cargo container farming, companies can increase their food production. For example, a farm in San Jose is able to provide at least 40,000 heads of Romaine lettuce in half the time that it would take for traditional agriculture to produce the same number of lettuce heads. These container van farms sell their products to grocery stores like Harris Teeter, Target, Costco or Whole Foods.
Providing a fresher, cleaner and better access to crops or produce was something these companies wanted to do. They wanted to provide stable jobs and educate farmers on the importance of sustainable farming and agriculture. They tried to bring education, transparency, as well as empower the community and let them know where their food is coming from.
They also want to educate the people how important the quality and freshness of the produce is. At the same time, farms in California offers hydroponic farming or also known as “Farm in a Box.” An agriculture method which crops or produce is grown in a 40-footer shipping cargo container.
Some companies even offer farming services with mobile application integration to help farmers to monitor how their product grows. Clients range from individual farmers to technical schools, universities and huge corporations.
One of the most frequent customers of these farms are local restaurants, supermarket or organic food stores that sell products that are not usually found in their area. There will come a time that hydroponic agriculture can play a vital role in colonization and space exploration.
Freight farming is starting to work with government agencies like NASA, as well as famous universities to help improve the efficiency of their farming units in the hopes of using them in future space projects. In order to make sure that these farming units will work in space, researchers are focusing on making them a closed-loop system by looking at electrical and thermal loads of the LED lights, as well as the HVAC units (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning).
While working on these types of projects, researchers face a lot of problems, and of the most significant issues in moving crops in space is gravity. As produce moves away from gravity, a lot of the growing patterns are based on different plants growing in a unique way.
Now you do not know precisely how they can grow the crops or produce, so it is going to be more random, so we need to change some of the cargo unit farming’s geometric layout to make them more effective and efficient when it comes to its volume. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Clemson University and Freight Farms are working on a new plan to continue their research.
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Through their work with individual farmers, as well as non-government organizations and government agencies, these companies are taking different steps towards their goal of helping farmers grow their own food from anywhere on the planet. Shipping container agriculture can be the solution to world hunger if done right. It is the future of agriculture since lands today are being converted to commercial uses or real estate land.
In today’s world where agricultural land is starting to diminish by the hour, container farming is the best way to grow fruits and vegetables effectively. We need to be food sufficient and rely less on big companies when it comes to the food supply. We know that farming is almost a lost art, that is why we need to educate people about modern agriculture.