Farm in a box: Shipping containers reused for fresh produce – Houston Chronicle

Freight Farms and other indoor agriculture companies are looking to meet the growing demand for high-quality, locally grown and sustainable produce by farming fruits and vegetables in non-traditional spaces such as warehouses, industrial buildings and containers. The company says its Leafy Green Machine helps farmers produce a consistently bountiful crop — roughly the typical yield of an acre of farmland — while using 90 percent less water, no pesticides, and just 320 square feet of space. Most Freight Farm customers are growing high turnover, compact crops the company recommends — lettuce; hearty greens like kale, cabbage and Swiss chard; and herbs like mint, basil and oregano — and selling them to local restaurants and groceries and at community markets, according to McNamara and Friedman. Jon Niedzielski, who heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in Massachusetts, says his office has already approved a handful of loans to farmers using Freight Farms’ containers. Industry experts caution that upfront costs and annual operational expenses like electricity for lighting systems that often run 18 hours a day can mean slim profit margins for would-be farmers.

Source: Farm in a box: Shipping containers reused for fresh produce – Houston Chronicle

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