What is a container farm?

30-04-2021    14:21   |    LettUs

Container farming, vertical farming, indoor farming… What do they all mean? Are they all the same thing? In this blog, we’re going to explain exactly what a container farm is and what the benefits of growing crops in this way are.

The controlled environment agriculture club

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is a term for using different technologies to grow food indoors. In CEA, these technologies ensure the best growing conditions and protection for specific crops. This is slightly different to just indoor farming - by nature, indoor farms simply protect crops from external forces such as weather and pests. A container farm would be an example of CEA, as would other indoor farms such as vertical farms and high-tech commercial greenhouses.

A container farm is usually a vertical farming system built inside a shipping container. The benefits of placing a farm within a container, rather than a building, are that it is transportable and can be squeezed into existing spaces, such as in car parks or on farmland. 

Since it is classified as a temporary structure, you typically don’t need planning permission for a shipping container. This can be particularly useful for those who rent their farmland. However, there are always exceptions and the necessary checks should always be made before making arrangements. As long as there is level ground, access to electricity, water & wifi, a shipping container can fit into a range of different settings.

Serving communities, big or small 

Since they’re easy to transport, container farms can be easily deployed as and when they are needed. This means they could be used for research or social-impact projects, without needing to build a permanent facility. Shipping containers are also modular, which means multiple containers can be used to build a larger facility and businesses can scale their operations appropriately. They also have the potential to be bedded into existing container parks - these are dotted around the UK and are usually shipping containers made up of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. One container farm could supply fresh produce to all of these.

In this way, container farms have the potential to be a positive disruptor within our food supply networks and strengthen our local food security by reducing our dependence on imported produce. Food waste and carbon caused by food transportation would also be reduced by strategically placing containers in key locations within communities.

The DROP & GROW container farm 

LettUs Grow’s container farms are powered by aeroponic technology. This is a soil-less system that uses a nutrient-dense mist to irrigate crops - boosting oxygen levels and encouraging healthy root stock. Whilst hydroponic container farms are more common, DROP & GROW uses aeroponics to optimise crop health and increase growth rates.

Our container farms have also been designed with the grower in mind. DROP & GROW:24 includes a separate preparation area, providing ample space for the grower to do their job. Our farms have also been designed to be easy to manoeuvre within and check on your crops.

Celebrating vertical farming technology

DROP & GROW wasn’t designed to be inconspicuous. Quite the opposite! We think urban farming, new technologies and feeding local communities is something to shout about, so a DROP & GROW on your site is an opportunity to start a conversation and encourage your customers to learn more about the benefits of vertical farming.

If you want to take a positive step towards a more sustainable and resilient food supply chain in the UK, then talk to LettUs business development team about why a container farm might be in the right choice for you. Find out more...

 

Source and Photo Courtesy of LettUs Grow


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