AUS: Container farm teaches students' perspective on farming

Nestled beside a building on a TAFE campus in Toowoomba is an ugly metal shipping container, but it's no ordinary storage shed. Step inside and it's bursting with greenery.

Packed floor to ceiling with vegetables and herbs like basil, kale, mint and mustard, this state-of-the-art modular farm is changing the future of agriculture, all with the push of a button. TAFE Queensland school manager Elaine Wallace said the "grow pod" aimed to change students' perspectives on traditional farming.

"Often when people think about agriculture, they think, 'Oh, I don't want to go stand in the sun all day picking vegetables, that's a bit too dirty for my liking'," Ms Wallace said. 

Student Kallia Stebbins said when she first saw the vertical farm she was amazed by the technology. "I didn't realize that you can grow crops like this, compared to just out in the middle of a field," she said.
"Now that I've seen this, it's very cool. I'm very interested to learn more about it."

It's not just agricultural students reaping the benefits of the multidisciplinary project. Information technology students studied the app controlling the farm, while electrical students looked at how the farm kept running.

Hospitality and cookery teacher Nev Siebenhausen said his students also gained valuable first-hand experience in paddock to plate catering. "For our students, it's a great opportunity to obviously shorten up the duration and travel on the product," he said.

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