Smart farmers

Background

Are container farms the future of the industry?

Could shipping containers be the future of farming? According to Cleveland Containers, they can.

In the UK alone, over half a million people still rely on food parcels, and overall around 3 billion people in the world live below the poverty line, according to Cleveland Containers.

The company states that shipping containers could be the future of farming and could provide an answer to the rapid demand for local produce.

Trend for local food

According to British Cleveland Containers The trend for local food has risen over the last few years and as a result, the demand for local produce is showing no signs of slowing down.

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"Creating your own farming space inside a container enables you to grow crops all year round and once modified, allows you to control growing conditions such as climate, soil quality and heat and light exposure," says Johnathan Bulmer. - Photo: Cleveland Containers
"Creating your own farming space inside a container enables you to grow crops all year round and once modified, allows you to control growing conditions such as climate, soil quality and heat and light exposure," says Johnathan Bulmer. - Photo: Cleveland Containers

“The problem that farmers have with this rising demand is that they are faced with the challenge of providing seasonal produce all year round, with no control over weather conditions,” says the company.

Farmers forced to be creative

With this in mind, farmers are being forced to get creative in how they can deliver the volume needed for local supermarkets, whilst still keeping hold of the nutritional value in its fruit and veg.

So, how could container farms shape the future of the industry? Johnathan Bulmer, Managing Director of Cleveland Containers, explains.

“Many are unaware that containers can be fitted with heating and water systems, as well as gas and electrics and therefore offer a whole host of benefits for crops and farmers alike.”

Control growing conditions

“Creating your own farming space inside a container enables you to grow crops all year round and once modified, allows you to control growing conditions such as climate, soil quality and heat and light exposure.”

Bulmer claims that container farms can produce up to 4,000 heads of lettuce every 10 days, using no soil and 97% less water than a conventional farm.

Eliminating the need for pesticides

“Shipping container farms also mean that crops are protected from nasty pests, therefore eliminating the need for pesticides which can cause health problems in those who consume them.”

Johnathan Bulmer:

Farmers won’t need to empty their pockets and fork out for extra land to expand

By removing the need for pesticides the produce will be healthier and, according to Bulmer, research shows that UK buyers find products free from pesticides more desirable.

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Farm anywhere

Container farms are also easily scalable, as they can be stacked, says Bulmer. “What this means for farmers is they won’t need to empty their pockets and fork out for extra land to expand. You also have the flexibility to be located anywhere you want as containers are designed to be easily relocated, so farmers no longer need to be based out in the sticks.”

A 40 foot container could equate to approximately 5 acres of farming land and can be easily transported almost anywhere with minimal effort, says Bulmer.

Cut down on costs

“We are seeing more and more farmers deciding to opt for container farms in the UK. The flexibility and ability to mass produce fruit and vegetables within a short space of time alongside the savings on water usage means farmers can cut down on costs and produce seasonal fruit and vegetables all year round, and on a much grander scale.”

Also read: Indoor farming technology market to grow to $ 40.25 billion

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