Founded in 2010 by Jon Friedman and Brad McNamara, Boston-based Freight Farms is poised to revolutionize the urban garden. Capitalizing on the growing trend toward locally sourced foods, Freight Farms provides a turnkey solution to those who want to grow large amounts of produce in a limited space. This facilitates everyone from the home gardener (albeit one who may be a bit more dedicated than the average backyard hobbyist) to large-scale wholesalers supplying the local restaurant and hospitality industries—and everyone in between.
Requiring no more than a plot of level land large enough to accommodate a 40′ x 8′ shipping container, Freight Farms’ “Leafy Green Machine” (LGM) is capable of producing as many as 2,500 seedlings and 4,500 mature plants at a time. This enormous capacity is made possible by their use of a vertical tower growing area. Instead of growing in horizontal rows, plants grow from hanging towers of hydroponic pods, each lit by a patented LED lighting system that, according to the company’s website, “mimics sunlight and delivers the optimal wavelengths for uniform plant growth.”
The container is equipped with two hydroponic nutrient delivery systems – one “ebb-and-flow” system for seedlings and a drip setup to support mature vegetative growth – and environmental sensors that control temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels. Water quality is measured and controlled through temperature, pH, and EC sensors. Users can set parameters and receive notifications about system performance.
Naturally, all of this can be monitored and controlled via the included 4G hotspot and your iOS device. (Really, is there anything that CAN’T be controlled by your phone or tablet these days?) Climate tracking, surveillance, and data logging all help make food safety and transparency a breeze.
All you have to do is plug it in and start growing!
Built by contract engineering and manufacturing firm Columbia Tech, the LGM is a truly scalable solution, perfect for those who want to grow (pun intended) beyond the capacity of a single unit. Because the system is built using stackable shipping containers, each self-contained unit is capable of being placed securely next to or on top of each other, greatly enhancing efficiency and output per square foot.
Urban gardens and local restaurants may want to take notice…