Shipping container farming feels like a world where hydroponics meets prepping for the apocalypse. One shipping container can produce as many crops as two acres of land. The good news is that shipping container farming companies exist and you can buy a container for yourself. The bad news is the price. Here are four shipping container hydroponics companies up and operating:
Shipping Container Farming Companies
Freight Farms is the most advanced shipping container farming company we’ve come across. They have plenty of information available to potential customers, 20+ videos on YouTube to give you a good feel for the business and the product, and clear pricing and expectations. They break down water usage, power usage, and features, the amount of time you can expect to spend a week (15 hours if it’s going full steam), etc.
Kuddos to Freight Farms for making this clear and transparent. Some of the other shipping container hydroponics companies on our list need to up their game.
- 40 foot long shipping containers
- 4,500 plants (Freight Farms does vertical shelving rather than horizontal stacks)
- Automated pH and nutrient control
- App enabled so you can check in remotely
- Temperature, humidity, and CO2 controls
- Insulated to allow for growth in all but the most extreme climates (-20 F – 120F)
- Cost: $85,000
This operation is out of the mountain town of Park City Utah. Their website is beautiful, but pretty uninformative. We had to do some real digging to get any real information. As it turns out, shipping container farming companies don’t do an awesome job with their web presence. Freight Farms was the exception. Harvest squared is more like the rule.
- Up to 40 foot shipping containers (though these guys even do wall mounts in your home)
- 3,000 plants arranged on four horizontal levels on either side of the center aisle
- Yield: 2,000 – 3,000 plants a month (depending on the type)
- Temperature controlled
- Humidity controlled
- Video feed
- $400 electrical bill per month if it’s running at full steam
- Price: ??? (not listed)
Tow and Grow
This hydroponic shipping container company is out of California. Like a few others on this list, info on their website can be a bit sparse. It looks like they use wing hood lights rather than LEDs. From their images you can see their ventilation/circulation system pretty clearly. None of their images show levels inside the shipping containers, so grow room might be limited unless you order something custom.
- 32 feet long
- CO2 monitoring
- pH and PPM monitoring and adjustment
- Twelve inch circulation fans with filters
- 1000 watt radeon bulbs
- Price: $45,000
Sadly one of the operations with one of the biggest names behind it is one of the ones with the most opaque operations. Squared Roots is run by Kimbal Musk. While his brother Elon is out disrupting a bunch of industries, Kimbal has not been sitting on his laurels. You can find several interviews with him, a few guest posts on some news websites, etc.
But even after digging through much of this information, Kimbal Musk’s vision is not fully clear. It looks like he’s trying to start a growing revolution, but it’s not obvious that the revolution is not the product. He talks about food entrepreneurs, which I think is an attempt to frame young millennials in a way that makes them look hip and business savvy while saving the planet. The biggest problem is that the info is lost in translation. What does it mean to be a food entrepreneur. Are you buying a unit? Are the shipping container units franchises? What millennial could afford one of these? Is this a re-branding of a menial worker similar to how some businesses call their salespeople “brand managers?” Who knows. You’ll find his posts littered with references to childhood obesity, limited resources, and building the future, but you won’t find any info on much else. Get you’re act together, Kimbal! You barely made our list!