Does the idea of getting back to the land appeal to you, only…you don”t really have that much land? Also, are you less-than-willing to relocate to the middle of nowhere? Do you fancy yourself as more of an urban person, but the thought of food shortages and increasing urbanization make you wonder about the future of food?
Forget about your worries and instead meet the CropBox. It just might be onto something.
The CropBox, designed by the aptly named Ben Greene, is made from a recycled shipping container and takes up the space of around two parking spaces. Yet because of the way it”s designed, it can grow more than an acre”s worth of food inside.
It”s also cheaper and easier to manage than a greenhouse. Operating as an enclosed system, farmers can control everything from the light to the temperature to the water, via smartphone. There”s even a camera inside so you can keep an eye on the crops. The included smartphone app also charts conditions over time, so farmers can notice trends and respond accordingly.
Since it”s more self-contained than even a greenhouse, the CropBox can grow crops all year round, even in colder, darker months. It uses a hydroponic system, which uses about 90% less water and 80% less pesticide than traditional agriculture. Depending on the location of the CropBox, it can also help cut down on transportation costs, especially if it”s placed next to a grocery store or restaurant.
Right now, the CropBox is available for rent or purchase, but there”s also a rent-to-own option on the way. With the right crops, Greene says, buyers can earn back the cost in as little as seven months.
The drawback to these structures is that they do consume a good deal of electricity, although Greene predicts that as energy technology becomes more efficient and renewable, this issue will become less daunting in the future.
Greene is also the cofounder of the Farmery, a whole farm made from stacked shipping containers where customers can pick their own produce. The entirely hydroponic farm takes up far less space than a traditional farm and allows it to exist in a more urban area, where open land might not be available. In addition, it makes fresh, local, and healthy foods more accessible to people in those areas. Worldwide, contained farming like this could also allow people in less hospitable climates to grow more food to combat shortages. Inventions like the CropBox won”t necessarily solve world hunger issues, but it could alleviate specific problems.