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Urban Farming: How to Start Vertical Farming with Shipping Containers

As urban spaces become increasingly limited, innovative solutions, like vertical farms, have emerged to address the need for sustainable food production in urban environments. Using a shipping container to create a vertical farm offers a unique opportunity to grow crops in a space-efficient manner and help to eliminate food waste. Vertical farming shipping containers reduce land usage, use resources efficiently and increase food security by providing communities access to fresh, local produce year-round.

What is vertical farming?

This innovative agricultural technique involves cultivating crops in vertically stacked layers or towers, often indoors or in controlled environments. This method revolutionises traditional farming by employing innovative technologies like aeroponics (growing plants without soil and using a nutrient-dense mist instead of water) or hydroponic farming. A vertical farm focuses on utilising a vertical growing space to grow food, prioritising efficiency and resource conservation over traditional expansive outdoor farming practices.

Indoor farms minimise water usage through irrigation systems that recycle and recirculate water. Plus, they enable year-round cultivation, independent of weather conditions, by providing artificial lighting and climate control. A vertical farm also reduces reliance on pesticides and herbicides, as controlled environments minimise the risk of pests and diseases. 

Why Shipping Containers are the Future of Farming

Container farms provide a controlled environment agriculture solution to grow leafy greens, culinary herbs, micro greens, edible flowers and even gourmet mushrooms 365 days a year.  Container farms are cost-effective, readily available, and their conversion requires a relatively low initial investment compared to constructing purpose-built structures. 

As container farms are portable, they allow flexibility in setting up a farm in urban areas and relocating. Shipping container farming offers opportunities for customisation, with their modular structure enabling farmers to adapt and optimise the interior layout according to their specific crop requirements and environmental controls. 

How to Start a Vertical Farm with Shipping Containers

Starting a container farm can be an exciting and rewarding venture to grow leafy vegetables and other fresh and nutritious food. Here are five essential steps to guide new growers:

  • Select a suitable shipping container for your vertical farm.

    Consider size, condition and insulation capabilities.

  • Plan and design the interior of the container

    To optimise space and create an efficient growing environment. Consider the layout of your growing system, irrigation systems, air circulation, lighting and climate control equipment.

  • Set up the essentials

    Such as hydroponics or aeroponics for precise control of nutrients, LED lights to optimise the growing process, a climate control system to maintain air temperature and humidity and an irrigation system for efficient water distribution.

  • Plant seeds and crops

    That thrive in this greenhouse environment and align with market demand. Leafy greens, herbs, microgreens, and certain vines are well-suited. Consider growth cycles, artificial/natural light requirements, and space utilisation to maximise yields and profitability.

  • Regularly inspect plants

    For pests and diseases and implement efficient harvesting and crop rotation strategies.

A Greener Future: Vertical Farming in Shipping Containers

Container farming can be a fulfilling and sustainable endeavour with numerous benefits. Container farming empowers people to grow produce, contribute to local food production, and promote a healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

If you’re ready to start growing food in your own container farm, browse our range of shipping containers online. We provide options for purchase or hire, with affordable delivery to your home or commercial location. Contact us by phone or email [email protected] to determine the best solution for your container farm.