The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Solar Powered 'Farm from a Box': Everything You Need to Run an Off-Grid Farm
Shipping containers already make great micro-homes, but one California-based company is using shipping containers to create micro-farms. Farm from a Box is a complete, small-scale farming toolkit that includes everything you might need to produce your own food.
Each box comes in 10-, 20- and 40-foot units and is pre-installed with a photovoltaic system comprising of 10 high-efficiency solar modules, off-grid inverters, a transformer and distribution box and deep-cycle batteries for energy storage. The array is backed up by a 3,000-watt generator.
It's also equipped with high-efficiency LED lighting, secured storage, a mobile charging area, Wi-Fi and a remote monitoring solution. Oh, and seeds and farming tools of course.
Each unit is capable of producing crops for one hectare of land (2.47 acres), the company says.
“Farm from a Box is the ‘Swiss-Army knife’ of sustainable farming,” Brandi DeCarli, Farm from a Box co-founder, said in September.
While Farm from a Box seems ideal for many communities worldwide, it could be a food security solution for areas without reliable access to electricity or water.
“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.”
Thinking outside the "box," the farm also comes with a training program that covers ecological farming practices, technology use, maintenance and basic business and entrepreneurship. A fully operational pilot project is planned for deployment at a local women’s cooperative in the Rift Valley in Ethiopia later this year to help shape and refine the training and implementation program.
A prototype installation called the "Adam" has been running at Santa Rosa Junior College in Sonoma, California since September.
The boxes are fully customizable and Fast Company reports that each unit costs between $25,000-$45,000, depending on its technology specs.
Last month, Farm from a Box announced a partnership with SMA America, a noted solar product manufacturer.
“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,” said Marko Wittich, SMA executive vice president of sales for the Americas region. “Farm from a Box isn’t charity; it empowers and strengthens communities with sustainable solutions, powered by renewable energy.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Coda Christopherson (11) and Lea Eiders (15)
Growing up in a plastic-free home, I was sheltered from the plastic waste crisis. I (Coda) went to a very progressive school that had vegan lunch items, farm animals and ran on solar power. My mom produces zero-waste events and my dad is a sailor, so we're very passionate about the ocean. When I was nine years old, we moved back to Manhattan Beach, California and I started 3rd grade in a public school. This was the first time I really understood that plastic-free living is not the norm; single-use plastics were everywhere, especially in the cafeteria. Once I recognized this problem, I knew I had to make a difference.
Henry Avocado issued the recall Saturday after a routine government inspection at its California packing facility turned up positive test results for the bacteria on "environmental samples," the company said in a statement. No illnesses have been reported.
Oil executives gathered for a conference laughed about their "unprecedented" access to Trump administration officials, according to a recording obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
In the recording, taken at a June 2017 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) at a Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, members expressed excitement about one official in particular: David Bernhardt, who had been nominated that April to be deputy secretary at the Department of Interior (DOI). Bernhardt would be confirmed the following month.
"We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues," IPAA political director Dan Naatz said in the recording.
By Elizabeth Henderson
The certified organic label has helped save many generational farms and enabled people like me, who do not come from agricultural backgrounds, to become successful farmers. Organic farming has brought environmental benefits—healthier soils, freedom from toxic pesticides and herbicides—to 6.5 million acres in the U.S.
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.
By Marlene Cimons
Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.