What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear about shipping containers? Probably most people are imagining now large cargo ships and industrial harbors. However, the application of shipping containers goes far beyond the logistics and transport industries. They can also be a good space for warehouses, shops, bars … or vertical farms!
Easy to transport, compact, and versatile. Container farms are an ideal solution for those who would like to try their hand at farming, but also for experienced farmers who are looking for new, effective methods of increasing crop yields.
Farming in a shipping container is nothing more than its name suggests. It refers to growing plants inside of a container. It is also one of the two most popular vertical farming solutions alongside indoor farming.
The most common growing practice used inside the container is hydroponics. It means you can grow plants without the use of soil. To feed the plants, nutrient-rich water is dosed directly to the roots through an irrigation system.
You are probably wondering how plants can get elements that are essential for their growth, such as water, light, and minerals. It is possible due to an artificial atmosphere and controlled environment created inside. This solution allows one to provide all the elements that a given plant needs for optimal growth. In more advanced solutions, the farm is managed by automation and software, that can be supported remotely. Thanks to this solution, users can enjoy healthy crops year-round, without committing too much work or time.
A hydroponic farm in a container is a great solution for farmers, entrepreneurs, or private individuals who do not have the required infrastructure or space (e.g., for greenhouse farming) that would allow them to grow larger amounts of crops. The container farm requires only 36 m2 of free space. Shipping containers can be easily transported to most places in the world. In addition, it offers a wide range of plant species that can be grown inside. What else does this original solution offer?
Local efficiency. It is possible to farm in a container, regardless of the location and climate. That gives access to reliable and year-round access to fresh vegetables and fruit. Thanks to the applied technology, farmers do not have to worry about extreme weather events and harmful external factors, because their crops are isolated in a controlled environment. In addition, by shortening the supply chain, this solution reduces the carbon footprint of transportation.
Saves water. The hydroponics method of growing can reduce water consumption by up to 95%. Recirculation of the dosed nutrients and closed circuit allows for multiple uses of the raw materials. That means more savings for you and benefits to the environment.
Controlled environment. An artificial atmosphere and controlled environment inside the container allow any plant species to have optimal growth. The system controls conditions such as temperature, hydration, lighting, gas intensity, and the volume of nutrient solution. Farm management software goes from varies from very basic to more advanced ones. Then it fully manages the crops and allows to operate the farm from a computer or mobile app.
Size and scalability. For container farms, the most used one is, post-recycling 40 HC refrigerated containers (dimensions approx. 12×3 m). It is the right size to ensure optimal growth conditions for the plants. The use of vertical farming methods allows one to achieve efficient crop yields – even up to several tons of plants per year. Containers are modular which means you can scale your farm depending on your needs. You only have to add a new container or rearrange the existing ones.
Growing plants in shipping containers allow the global food system to be decentralized and disrupted. Extreme weather events, a harsh climate, or limited space no longer must be a barrier to growing vegetables and fruits all year round. The container farm can be set up in virtually any place in the world, due to the easy transportation and universal size.
German researchers on the east coast of Antarctica have found this out. In the EDEN ISS container farm, located a short distance from the Neumayer II polar station, they managed to grow fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even cauliflower! As you can see, even temperatures reaching -100 are not an obstacle to enjoying fresh vegetable produce, regardless of the season!
There are several plant species that you can grow on a farm. You can farm either vegetables, fruits, flowers, or even hemp. All you need is a proper farming system and algorithms that allow you to create an environment suitable for a chosen plant.
To meet the growing challenges related to food security and disruptions in the supply chain, Hydropolis gives you an opportunity to have your own hydroponic container farm.
Independence, stability, and efficiency. These are the features that characterize our Plantainer container farm. It was designed based on a 40 HC container, which ensures the mobility of the solution and quick start-up of the crop a. Inside the Plantainer there is a fully-fledged hydroponic system with a nursery station. Crops are managed by the intelligent Grow Wizard software. It provides the farmer with all the information about the state of the farm. Thanks to regularly delivered reports, the user can be sure that everything is fine with crops. The software is supported both on a computer and in a mobile application.
With the Plantainer technology you can grow lettuces (butter, roman, corrugated, lamb’s lettuce) or herbs (mint, basil, thyme), low grains, micro herbs, or sprouts. In the case of lettuces, it is possible to achieve a yield of over 2.8 t per year, which makes the solution very efficient.
To meet the client’s expectations, we offer the possibility of adapting Plantainer to individual needs. We implement our projects comprehensively. We deliver and implement the whole project. We also offer service and training before and after the farm is set up. We provide solutions that meet individual requirements. We want farmers to be effective and economically profitable.
If you are interested in shipping container farms and/or have questions about starting with vertical farming, please contact us. Our specialists will advise you on the best solution and help you start your adventure with hydroponics.