In the past, shipping containers have been re-purposed into many different things including sheds and temporary office space. However, a California-based company has recently gone one step further and developed an agriculture system called Farm from a Box. Farm from a Box is an off-grid, fully self contained ‘tool kit’ style concept that includes everything you’ll need to produce your own food and is a proposed long term alternative to food aid.
Farm is a Box is available in 10, 20 and 40 foot units and comes equipped with its own PV systems made up of 10 solar modules, off-grid inverters, a transformer and distribution box as well as deep-cycle batteries for energy storage. The renewable energy set up is also backed up by a fail-safe 3,000 watt generator.
Farm from a Box to provide food security to those in need
Farm from a Box is also decked out with LED lighting, secured storage, a module charging area, WiFi and a remote monitoring solution. Not to mention all the tools and organic material needed to create a farm.
Despite its small size, the company claims that each Farm from a Box is capable of creating crops spanning 2.47 acres of land.
Farm from a Box co-founder, Brandi DeCarli, said in September that their product “is the ‘Swiss-Army knife’ of sustainable farming”.
Though there are many applications for Farm from a Box within a multitude of communities worldwide, one of the most interesting would be the potential for increased food security in areas where consistent electricity and water is not guaranteed.
Co-founder discusses the potential applications of Farm from a Box
“Based on extensive field research, we found that rural communities often lack the resources and infrastructure needed to access nutritious food,” DeCarli said. “We developed a toolkit that contains all of the core components needed to grow your own food, on a two acre plot of land, without the need for an existing grid. Imagine the good it can do by growing local, organic food for a school, or helping jumpstart food production after a disaster. ‘Farm from a Box’ enables and empowers communities to provide for themselves.”
The all-inclusive miniature farms also come equipped with educational tools and training programs covering a variety of topics from ecology and agriculture, to maintenance and entrepreneurship.
Further research and development of the training and implementation portion of Farm from a Box will soon roll out as a fully operational pilot program is already set to be deployed at a women’s cooperative in Ethiopia.
Solar power practicality making Farm from a Box possible
Each Farm from a Box is able to be fully customised with reports from the Fast Company stating that costs for the unit range from $25,000 to $45,000 depending on layout and technology included.
The use of renewable energy is a key element of the sustainable aspect of Farm from a Box and the innovative company recently announced a partnership with SMA America, a well established solar manufacturer.
Marko Wittich , SMA executive vice president of sale for the Americas region has reportedly said “SMA is proud to partner with a company whose goal is to bring independence to communities around the globe by providing the tools they need to sustain themselves, both nutritionally and financially. Farm from a Box isn’t charity; it empowers and strengthens communities with sustainable solutions, powered by renewable energy.”
Photo courtesy of Farm from a Box