Not the first shipping container cafe by Starbucks but its still heading in the right direction of recycling shipping containers.
The fact is unfortunately or maybe not? Shipping containers have become fashionably green. Myself its not about being green but more to the fact it makes a lot of sense recycling containers for homes,offices and other buildings. But Peter Demaria who’s part of this project from demariadesign.com said “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,”. I would like to add this trend is changing rather rapidly with the current recessions round the world. In reality the containers we are seeing stuck at ports may not be so readily available in the future as more goods may end up having to be manufactured at home due to the fact most industries have now gone to China. You can only export so much trade until countries wake up to the fact they need to start developing their own manufacturing and not just rely on cheap imports as it damages the economy.
Recycling the containers though takes only five per cent of the energy that melting down the steel it a beam for example. Often greens will be pushing the fact the containers shouldn’t exist in the first place but in reality they are already here! Lets deal with the surplus as the lowering imports will no doubt reduce the numbers of containers.
Back on to Starbucks new cafe, Mr Demaria has worked on other shipping container building projects already including a house in Redondo Beach, gallery and a condo building in other locations within the United States.
What we are seeing with the Starbucks container building though is a prototype being put together its unique not only in the steel container design but also that it will be drive-up and walk-up only with no space to lounge inside.
And it will be portable, he said, easy to break it down and transport somewhere else. “We see a lot of opportunities here,” he said. “We can put a store like this on a lot that will be developed someday but is free for two or three years, and then we can move it.”
Also Starbucks is looking to the fact it imports tea, coffee and other products into the United States as well as other countries and would like to see the containers not going to waste.
For me its another bite at the apple pardon the pun, but its taking another direction for shipping containers but also one that makes sense in my location that is full of parasites not only from slugs,lettuce and greenfly but thieves!
This business was setup by a former software engineer and has already received nearly $1m in funding as a way to provide food in cities. These growing pods have been designed to literally grow food anywhere and may be a long term solution to moving many products we don’t need to half way round the world. Its partly the fuel prices that are sparking a major interest at the same time I am also very sceptical on the fuel pricing by such a corrupt industry as the oil business. But lets face it they play stock markets with our lives everyday. We go local it takes a little bit of control back into our lives.
Roof top farming is another concept as well as hydroponics, vertical gardening, aquaponics and the list goes on all trying to make it viable to do things from home or within a community. The PodPonics which is what we are looking at today seems to be heading in the right direction receiving over $725,000 in seed funding which says it may be on the right path at least from its investors.
Podponics is developed by Matt Liotta and began in 2010 he is a serial entrepreneur and noticed a gap in the market and started to ask the questions and then finding the solutions to make it possible in local produce production.
Now the crunch is although these pods are designed to supply the correct amount of water, pH, light levels, Co2 as well as lighting giving different spectrums of light throughout the day they still rely on power from the power grid which does make me wonder how much power? In the Philippines we have one of the most expensive suppliers of electricity in Asia so is it still going to be viable? 320sqm of space in a shipping container produces the same as one acre of land except the obvious advantage you can stack shipping containers and I believe upto 11 high if the foundations are correct giving you a huge farm on a tiny lot space, IF the electric side of the business is viable.
The original startup supplies 150lbs of lettuce,arugula as well as other crops to local restaurants and grocery stores in Atlanta every week. The demand still currently out ways production which shows the demand in the industry.
The key here maybe though not to grow what you want but what you haven’t even thought of. E.g. the Middle East will struggle with general greenery yet doesn’t have a problem with fuel and lighting costs setting containers up there as green farms would no doubt be a huge change in the ability to produce locally. At the same time could we see instead planes flying in food regularly the rise of shipping container farms in countries all over the world producing crops that before needed to be flown in?
Are we looking at the future of military food production and other services reliant on things being sent/given. Could you imagine freight ships having gardens on-board supplying daily needs? this may be one of the biggest developments in shipping containers we have seen.