The problems of growing vegetables, fruits, and berries in large cities are very acute for a person. This is due to the lack of prepared space for agricultural purposes and the high production of most soils suitable for growing plants. Today, cargo containers are ideal not only for conversion into living quarters, but they can also be an excellent basis for setting up a portable farm. In this article, we will consider the possible future of shipping container farming.
Containers take part in the development of farming
The latest trend is turning old shipping containers into hydroponic farms that are highly efficient and productive. Unique portable container farm models feature intuitive climate controls for the perfect growing environment and improved energy efficiency. The containers also support the installation of air and water monitoring sensors and controls that allow people to adjust to growing conditions and access cameras from mobile devices.
The main mission of portable farms is to enable people to grow food anywhere, reducing the pressure on the earth’s soils. It is a sustainable, connected food system that could very well be the solution of the future for food security in large metropolitan areas.
The technical organization of portable farms
The first portable urban farms appeared in New York, where the importance of growing fresh food is especially high due to the overpopulation of the city. Urban mobile farms are specially equipped insulated shipping containers equipped with the latest LED lighting, water-protection hydroponic or drip irrigation systems for watering plants, and adjustable racks for high-performance vertical production. The blocks are also equipped with modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. An additional advantage of these innovative farms will be a PC-based microprocessor system that can be controlled from anywhere.
For the arrangement of portable farms, it is quite convenient to use standard 40-foot sea containers, which are equipped with vertical racks. This allows you to provide enough space for growing an impressive crop.
Benefits of using container farms
Today, the concept of CEA (сontrolled-environment agriculture) is becoming a real mainstream in Europe and the USA, which has its own logical explanation. The advantages of this type of farm over the standard agricultural environment are the following:
- Possibility to grow fresh, healthy organic products 12 months a year, regardless of the season and weather conditions.
- On the basis of a portable farm, perfect conditions can be created for growing plants that cannot be grown in a certain climate, such as exotic tropical fruits and berries.
- Studies have shown that the productivity of a managed agricultural environment is an order of magnitude higher than that of an uncontrolled natural environment.
- Ease of maintenance is ensured by a fully automated watering and growth control system, which allows a person to minimize the hassle of maintaining a farm.
- The ability to grow any plant in arid climates and unsuitable soils.
The idea was first appreciated by the US military, which uses such containers to provide fresh food to the peacekeeping contingent serving in Afghanistan.
Advantages of used modules:
- Cheapness. In comparison with new analogs, the cost of such containers is on average 2-2.5 times lower. If it is necessary to update the entire range of packaging, the transport company saves significantly by giving preference to used analogs. Moreover, most of them are in a state suitable for repeated use;
- Practicality. Containers not older than 20 years old can be used for the transportation of general cargo, piece goods, and food products that do not require a special storage/delivery regime. They can be sold, rented out, refurbished, or used as a cargo storage terminal;
- Availability. Used blocks are always available. This cannot be said about new analogs. Due to the limited demand for them, these are supplied exclusively on order. At the same time, the client is forced to wait several months until the delivery from the manufacturing plant, shipment, and shipment are organized.
As a rule, manufacturers of sea containers indicate a period of 10-15 years as a guaranteed useful operating time for cargo modules. As practice shows, containers serve much longer even with the slightest preventive maintenance. Therefore, if we are talking about purchasing already used options, you need to pay attention to the individual CSC information, which is printed on the outer walls of the cargo block. The buyer should be wary of the low price. Either the age of the container is very solid and the purchase is meaningless, or the owner really wants to sell it quickly and therefore dumps the price.
Tips on choosing a container
Each block is evaluated for visible and hidden damage. The strength and tightness of the outer coating must be assessed without fail. It is advisable to inspect used containers on a sunny day. After all, going inside, you can see a gap in the skin, through which the sun’s rays will break through.
There should be no cracks, scratches, chips, or dents on the floor. It is also necessary to carefully examine all the internal surfaces of the module for the presence of mold and fungal infections, which in the future the buyer or user will have to remove using special antiseptic preparations.
On the metal surface from the outside, a plate must be preserved, which displays basic information about the container. This will allow the module to be identified and correlated with the next possible application.
Most often, containers are associated with huge rusty blocks, which are only suitable for storing any machine tools, inventory, or building materials. However, such structures are widely used as infrastructure facilities. A huge number of shops and seasonal cafes are equipped in containers. They also serve as excellent temporary housing for tourists in boarding houses and holiday camps. Another great use case for a container is farming. If you want to purchase a reliable container at an attractive price for your business, Pelican Containers is what you need. Employees of the company will help you quickly determine the required size of the container and advise on all issues regarding the procedure for the purchase, delivery, and operation of the container.