Activity on the Shipping containers is a bit slow right now so decided to start looking at other containers that are relevant. This one for example is relevant in two ways as its part of green living as well as housed in a container. For which I am going to start looking to add in more green fingered activities on the blog as well to help expand things out a bit from construction and design of shipping containers into a broad way of container living.
This is the McMurdo Ice Station in Antarctica which is a science and support facility. Everything that is going into the South Pole will pass through McMurdo making it a bit of a mailbox for the most remotest place on the planet. During peak season you will find around 1500 but when the skies turn dark its left with a skeleton staff of support crew and engineers.
What has all this got to do with Hydroponics your probably wondering, well in that container building under a rather white sky you will find a lot of plant life in one of the harshest living condition environments in the world. It all began with someone wanting fresh food over tinned and frozen goods. Initially seeking to start with tomatoes wasn’t long until a pilot was bringing in seeds and a small idea became a big reality. Ok may not seem so big here! but if your used to living on tinned and frozen food having some fresh produce makes a huge difference in life when away for months without it.
Add to that though the bleak surroundings and the dry environment of the Antarctic the hydroponics garden doesn’t just become a food source but a place of life and an injection of light as well as humidifiers giving a more “at home in the garden” feel. It no so surprise that people would want to spend spare time in there with months of living in the Antarctic.
The interesting thing here though is to add most of what you see is more like a scrapheap challenge than some scientific adventure. Reason being is bringing stuff to the remote station is often expensive and infrequent. Budgets may be allowed for projects on going but not for the vegetables for your plate. Everything has been pretty much been salvaged where possible but lucky they have the right people in the right place to pull it off. A hot bed of grey matter working away to get it up and running. No scientific experiment going on just people who love good food and willing to put a bit of effort in to make it happen.
Photo credits owner unknown.
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.