Farm in a Box

By Christina Birchfield | 1/16/2014

Freight Farms used crowd-sourcing Kickstarter for the start-up financing of its oh-so-green, recycled shipping container, hydroponic gardens to go really locavore.


] Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Concord, N.H., is among the companies that has gone green growing hydroponically with the recycled shipping container kit from Boston-based Freight Farms.

According to Modern Farmer, “Freight Farms creates local food at a commercial volume.”

The company upcycles shipping containers into modular indoor mini farms for almost any climate. Units can even be stacked as they are for their traditional shipping use giving new meaning to the phrase, “container farming.”

Each shipping container comes equipped with climate-control technology suitable for greens or fungi (mushrooms). The soilless hydroponic gardens grow food “by the cubic foot”—yielding the equivalent of an acre of produce inside a shipping container—3,000 plants can be harvested at one time or 400 heads of lettuce from a single unit. Or units can be timed to provide a continuous harvest schedule for restaurants.

This is farming gone digital with real time-monitoring and automated growing methods as well as solar power and water-filtering and reclamation. Some of this is farming by smartphone

Kickstarter was the medium used to provide the company’s original financing. Then it raised $1.2 million with venture capitalists Morningstar Venture Investments Ltd, Launch Capital and Rothenberg Ventures, according to PandoDaily.

The company averages two sales a week and has sold about a dozen or so container farms at $75,000 each to install, compared to a $1 million or so for a traditional commercial greenhouse.

The Courtyard Marriott is part of the Grappone Conference Center. The center is rife with sustainability. There is beekeeping on the conference center roof. The center recycles its cooking oil for heating.


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