US (CA): LA unveils 'first container farm'

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has teamed up with the Electric Power Research Institute to test an indoor container farm in Northridge. “We’re going to show the rest of the country that cities can be a part of the future of farming,” LA City Councilmember John Lee told. Lee represents the 12th council district in the Northwest San Fernando Valley where the city’s first pod farm was unveiled Thursday at the LAPD Devonshire PALS youth center. 

While the 40-foot, eight-ton container will be part of a research project for the next two years, it is a permanent installation that will first be used to grow kale and eventually other crops that can help feed the community while teaching young people about technology and efficient farming practices.

LADWP is one of 14 utilities that is working with the Electric Power Research Institute on a two-year study to help utilities understand the impacts of indoor food production. Researchers will monitor each site to evaluate energy and water usage.

“Indoor agriculture is not competitive with traditional agriculture. It’s a beneficial solution,” said EPRI Principal Technical Leader, Frank Sharp. 

Indoor farming allows food to be produced closer to where it is consumed, which, when it is grown in urban areas, has implications for the utilities that provide the water and power to make it happen. Part of EPRI’s research with the indoor farm in Northridge is to “help utilities think about ways to be working with communities to benefit both the grid with efficient technologies and efficient use of energy, water and sustainability and also community impact.”  

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