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Recycling Freight Containers for Farming

Touch the Soil News #248

Called Freight Farms, the company manufactures what they call the “Leafy Green Machine.” It’s a fully contained farm in a used 40 foot shipping container. The unit comes with its own computerized brain that allows you to monitor and control temperature, moisture, humidity and nutrients flowing to the hydroponic system. And, you do all of this with your smartphone. All yours for about $75,000 per container.

The growing lights are a pink hue and there are Bluetooth-connected speakers embedded in the ceiling making it easy to access our favorite playlist.

But, don’t let the smallness of the shipping container fool you. In an area of 320 square feet – the equivalent of 10 standard size 4’ X 8’ vegetable beds you can grow about 7,000 heads of lettuce at a time. This allows you to sell 500 head a week – which on an annual basis is what a full acre of conventional farming will do. Plus, you can grow and ship all year even if you live in northern climes.

Four Retro-fitted Freight Containers at Cornerstalk Farms in Boston, Mass. There are also four other Freight Farms in the City. (photo courtesy of Freight Farms)

Shawn and Connie Cooney of Cornerstalk Farm, baby boomers that have retired, purchased four of the shipping container farms back in 2013 and they are still at it. Churning out fresh produce year-round, the Cooney’s offer Boston area stores and restaurants the freshest of fresh. They boast that their pick-up orders can be ready in 30 minutes.

Following is a news video of Shawn and Connie’s Cornerstalk Farm:

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