Communities that have to ship in fresh food from far away could start getting local produce right from their parking lots or warehouses thanks to Local Roots‘ shipping container farms. The 40-foot containers house hydroponic farms that only draw on five to 20 gallons of water each day to grow produce like lettuce, strawberries, or kale. Popping up all around the United States, these scalable farms “grow far more produce than any other indoor farming solution on the market” according to co-founder Dan Kuenzi. Local Roots is even talking with SpaceX about using their farms in space.
Local Roots’ 40-foot shipping container farms, called TerraFarms, grow produce twice as fast as a traditional farm, all while using 97 percent less water and zero pesticides or herbicides. They can grow as much food as could be grown on three to five acres. They’re able to do this thanks to LED lights tuned to specific wavelengths and intensities, and sensor systems monitoring water, nutrient, and atmospheric conditions.
The process from setup to first harvest takes only around four weeks. TerraFarms can be stacked and connected to the local grid. CEO Eric Ellestad said in a video 30 million Americans live in food deserts, and their farms could be placed right in communities that most need the food.
Los Angeles is already home to a farm with several shipping containers, and a similar one will be coming to Maryland this year. It could offer local food like strawberries in January.
And Local Roots’ technology could one day allow astronauts to consume fresh produce in space. Their growing systems could offer a food source on long-term, deep space missions. Ellestad told The Washington Post, “The opportunities are global and intergalactic at the same time.”
Images via Local Roots Facebook