Author: Nina Liloia
So, you want to be a farmer. How do you get started? Freight Farms, an agricultural technology company headquartered in Boston, MA, has created an easy and affordable option for those interested in food production. The company manufactures vertical, hydroponic farms built into shipping containers. The containers are able to produce hundreds of pounds of produce every month.
Traditional farming requires years of knowledge, expensive equipment, and a great deal of land and water. In colder climates like Ohio’s, farms might also struggle to produce food during the winter.
To combat the knowledge barrier of farming, Freight Farms developed farmhand, a hydroponic farm management and automation software. It allows farmers to detect and control their container farms’ conditions, such as pH, humidity, and nutrient levels, from an app. Lexy Basquette, the Farm Manager at Freight Farms, clarifies that “the programming is very easy to operate… it creates an ideal growing environment, so a farmer can come in, do a couple things, and leave with the peace of mind that the farm has taken care of the rest.”
Other than a lack of knowledge, another barrier new farmers face is the expense of land, water, and equipment. Although the container farms might seem like a big investment, they are each equal to two or three acres of farmland while only taking up three hundred twenty square feet of space! Also, the entire container uses only about 5 gallons of water per day. Other than farmhand, no extra equipment is needed to maintain them, and they can operate 365 days a year in any location that has access to electricity and which can hold their weight.
Freight Farms projects that container farm owners will make back their investment within just two to three years. Additionally, the Freight Farms team works with lending agencies to help small businesses afford their products. There are also grants that schools and nonprofits can apply for in order to purchase Freight Farms products.
Shipping container farms allow businesses and individuals to take food production into their own hands in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. Basquette feels that one of the best things about agricultural technology companies like Freight Farms is that they “empower individuals to make a difference in their local communities and economies.” She believes that overall, by “facilitating connections with where one’s food comes from, we are able to build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable food system.”
Link to Freight Farms website: https://www.freightfarms.com/