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Freight Farms: Turning used shipping containers into gardens

Is there anything you can’t do with a used shipping container? Designers have intrepidly redesigned these metal boxes that pile up at ports as everything from office buildings to portable commercial space to prison cells. Industrial designer Jon Friedman and environmental scientist Brad McNamara have found yet another potential use for shipping containers: small, self-contained urban farms. Combining hydroponics, solar power and rainwater harvesting, their Freight Farms concept recycles containers into “modular, expandable, portable crop production units.”

Much like the Brightfarms concept, or even the garden at O’Hare airport, Friedman and McNamara conceived of Freight Farms as a way to reduce or even eliminate “food miles,” the shipping (and related environmental and economic costs) of sending produce from one place to another. Tomatoes in January that haven’t traveled thousands of miles? Sounds ideal. Owners could place the units on rooftops, in vacant lots, or in any other empty space currently unfit for growing food. The creators even imagine a network of food producers that sell excess produce to a local hub that then redistributes it to other buyers.

Like the idea? Friedman and McNamara have turned to Kickstarter to fund a prototype Freight Farm complete with growing system, proper insulation and LED lighting that provides plants with the wavelengths of light they need to thrive. They’re just over a third of the way to their fundraising goal of $26,040, so if you’re intrigued, consider kicking in a few bucks. Check out the video above for more details on the project, and let us know what you think.

via Inhabitat

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Image credit: Danny Cornelissen at Wikimedia Commons