Getting the balance of the world population and the amount of food that needs to be produced is tricky – and, frankly, one that we haven’t got right yet. With a growing population, a greater need for housing, it is becoming more and more difficult to produce enough food to keep us all going.
Whereas in the past, when it comes to farming, shipping containers have been used mainly for storing machinery, tools, equipment, food, or sometimes produce. However, shipping containers are now helping the world to look at farming through different eyes, and are actually revolutionising the way that the world looks at farming.
Shipping containers can be used to supply controlled environment agriculture – which can have several benefits over more traditional farming methods.
Benefits of Controlled Environment Agriculture
Converting a shipping container into an area that can be used for controlled environment agriculture such as hydroponics can be very effective. Controlled environment agriculture essentially means that instead of leaving the crops open to the elements, seasons, and changes in weather, they are kept in a tightly controlled environment where it is kept at an optimum temperature and humidity.
There are several benefits to converting a shipping container into a controlled environment for agriculture in addition to being able to control the environment, however. These include:
- Shipping containers can be stacked on top of each other. This means, for a very small amount of land space, you can produce high amounts of produce. As the price of land rockets, this is an important factor and means that the shipping container can be placed anywhere that there is space, even if it is a very small area.
- Shipping containers can be joined together side-by-side as well as stacked one on top of another. This means that it is easy to scale, allowing you to start off with one shipping container, and then build your farming empire up (quite literally) as you become more successful.
- Shipping containers are designed to be used with different modes of transport. Although they are heavy and robust, they are also portable, meaning that if you move, you can take your farm with you.
- Compared to building bricks and mortar buildings, shipping containers are a cost-effective way to create controlled environment agriculture – although some modifications will need to be made to the shipping container before you start.
- Due to the fact that shipping containers are produced and used for a different purpose, converting a shipping container helps to reduce waste. Instead of it going to waste, it can be repurposed into your farm, therefore, also being the eco-friendly option.
- By locating your shipping container in an urban area (as an ‘urban farm’), you can reduce the distance that the produce travels before it is bought and eaten, therefore, lowering the food’s carbon footprint.
- Shipping containers can also be used for worm, insect, or fish farming.
Converting a Shipping Container into an Urban Farm
Shipping containers can be bought in a range of different sizes, usually ranging from a 10ft container to a 40ft container. It is important to remember that you can also stack or join several shipping containers together to create more space.
The most important part of designing and establishing an urban farm is to be able to meticulously control the environment of the interior of the shipping container. This means having robust, effective insulation lining to ensure that the outside heat or cold does not affect the interior temperature. You might also need humidity controls and anti-condensation coating to ensure that it perfectly matches the environment that you wish to create in order to grow your produce at the ideal level.
You can add personnel doors that can be securely locked for ease of access, as well as to prevent vandals and any unauthorised access. Doors can also be fitted with ramps for both wheelchair access as well as ease of getting heavy items in and out of the room.
Electrical and lighting packages can be installed so that you can both see inside and also power any heating or light that you might need for your crops.
Racking and shelving can also be fitted to ensure that your crops are organised, neat, and perfectly spaced, as well as giving you the storage space that you will need.
As the world’s population continues to grow, and the production of eco-friendly food becomes more of an issue, it is likely that urban farming is set to increase. With new technology becoming available we are likely to see more and more effective urban farming and converted shipping containers are the perfect place to do this.