Local Food is Here to Stay
The local food trend isn't going away anytime soon, but as demand increases, traditional farmers and restaurants are faced with the challenge of providing fresh, hyper-local food year-round. Since the advent of the grocery store, customer's have become accustomed to an endless summer regarding the variety of produce available on store shelves regardless of where they live. In order to feed the rising demand for local food, as well as meet the nutritional needs of a growing population, methods of indoor farming are a large part of the solution designed to meet increasing demand created by the local food movement.
There are a variety of approaches to growing crops in indoor environments including home growing, retrofitting warehouses, rooftop farming, and of course, container farming. If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of these practices, read our article on Comparing Different Indoor Farming Methods. But in this article, we are going to focus on what makes freight farming so accessible to new farmers, no matter where they're located.
An (extremely) brief history lesson
The number of farms producing the food we eat here in the United States has dropped by roughly 70% since the 1930's, leaving the majority of the food we eat grown by giant corporations, often shipped from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Despite this trend, however, consumers' appetite for local food is growing. In 2014, local foods generated nearly 12 billion in sales and are expected to double by 2019. While the "local" label conjures up images of small farms, pastoral scenes, or perhaps even urban farming operations, the reality is, big box retailers are elbowing their way into the space and capitalizing on the trend.
Studies show that only about one-third of small farms has a designated successor in the family, in part because many young people are unwilling to make the significant financial investment in an industry that requires them to work long hours and has a somewhat antiquated reputation.
Container farming can work for anyone
At Freight Farms, we're committed to lowering the barriers to entry for small farmers by decreasing the start-up cost of farming and increasing the productivity on a per-square-foot basis. Furthermore, the automation inside the farm makes container farming less labor intensive than traditional agriculture and other indoor growing techniques, meaning that you have more time to grow the business side of your operation or pursue your other interests and entrepreneurial endeavors.
Container farming works well in both urban and rural settings and can function as a stand-alone business, or be an accessory to your existing farm or restaurant, making it easier for both small businesses and institutions to incorporate truly sustainable practices. It's a great learning tool, plus it can feed your employees, guests, or students.
Although some of our farmers come from farming backgrounds, many freight farmers are new to the industry. Part of our mission here at Freight Farms is to provide both the hardware and software solutions to simplify the hydroponic growing process, so that any company, individual or organization can grow fresh produce year-round no matter what their technical or farming experience might be.
A complete farming system inside a box
Unlike other indoor growing methods, the Leafy Green Machine comes fully assembled to allow you seamlessly kickstart your farm and get growing.
- Turnkey: The Leafy Green Machine is a complete hydroponic growing system in a box. Meaning, freight farmers can perform every farm-related task from seeding to harvesting and packaging right inside the container!
- Climate Controlled: Intuitive climate controls automatically respond to air and water sensors inside the farm to ensure an ideal growing environment for your crops.
- Automated: Inside each farm is a central brain that is programmed to automatically adjust all the components inside the farm so that it's creating the perfect environment. That means the climate is managed by the LGM, enabling farmers to focus on growing the crops and their business.
- Remote Monitoring and Control: The farmhand mobile application allows our freight farmers to remotely monitor and control the climate components inside the farm such as the lights, temperature, and humidity, so they can know what's going on inside the farm, even when they're not there.
- Scaleable: The modular and stackable design of the Leafy Green Machine allows you to quickly scale up your farming operation or start a new business from scratch. Meet Kate Haverkampf, who recently doubled her two-farm operation, and is now freight farming with four Leafy Green Machines.
If you would like to learn more about the Leafy Green Machine, make sure to register for our free webinar on May, 24th from 12-1 EST! Two of our farming experts will help you gain a deeper understanding of freight farming.