The New Age of Farming

“Grow Food Anywhere” is Freight Farms’ motto, and it turns out that they may be on to something. I attended Collision Conference last week, where I was able to speak with a number of entrepreneurs and learn about their startups. Freight Farms stood out as one of the most interesting to me. Beyond being a great concept, it was also socially and environmentally conscious.

The Leafy Green Machine shipping container parked at Collision Conference

When you look at a LGM (Leafy Green Machine) product from the outside, it looks like your average shipping container, painted green. When you venture inside the LGM, you’ll find a fully functional, hydroponic farm. You can grow a variety of crops inside this container (measured at 40’ x 8’ x 9.5’) all year long, regardless of geographic location. And, there’s a cool Farmhand app that helps you monitor and manage your growing operation from anywhere.

Growing plants inside the LGM

Growing plants inside the LGM

Freight Farms is a Boston based company that was founded in 2010 by Jon Friedman and Brad McNamara. Their mission, as it states on their website, is to “create a more sustainable and connected food system,” and to “facilitate the development of products and services that would allow urban agriculture to become a more competitive industry in food production.” According to an article on NPR, Freight Farms says it has sold about 25 of the containers so far, at a cost starting at $76,000 each.

LED lights mimic sunlight for growing crops.

LED lights mimic sunlight for growing crops.

I entered a LGM, which was parked next to the food trucks at Collision Conference, and I found a complete system of vertical hydroponics, which allows you to grow over 4500 crops in a small space, and LED lighting that mimics sunlight to stimulate plant growth. You can grow lettuces, herbs, and brassicas (which include Kale, Swiss chard, and arugula).

As Freight Farms is proving to us, urban farming is possible, whether you decide to bring your Leafy Green Machine to Denver and Boston or to San Diego and Austin. Transparency and sustainability in food production are of growing interest to consumers, many of whom are no longer comfortable with just eating what’s right in front of them. We have been doing our part by asking the right questions about how our food is made and where it comes from, but we can take it a step further and highlight new technology developed by companies like Freight Farms. These companies are finding innovative ways to bring sustainable farming to the unlikeliest of places.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMANDA EFTHIMIOU

IMG_9202I’m the Senior Editor of Women’s iLab and the Director of Operations for Kite, an app that allows you to share news and articles. One of my labors of love is co-organizing #ArtsTech meetup, which focuses on the intersection of art and technology. One of my greatest passions is world travel: when I’m not home in New York City, you’ll find me somewhere in Europe, Asia, or Latin America. I graduated from the George Washington University with a BA in Art History. Get in touch with me on twitter @amaiou.
 
Twitter
 
Read more about and from the author: Amanda’s WiLab Profile