From Alaska to Egypt: bringing the farm to the people

Siene Allen in Kodiak Island, Alaska and Zeina Salama in El Beheira, Egypt grow food in very different climates. Yet step into the perfectly controlled environment of either farm, and their crops could be sitting directly next to each other. 

Both farmers are growing in fully automated, 40-foot-long containers developed by Freight Farms, a Boston-based company. The containers are equipped with everything needed for the equivalent of 2.5 acres of crops, using a soil-less method of farming called hydroponics.

Hydroponics isn’t the answer to all the world’s food problems, says Daniels Wells, an associate professor at Auburn University Department of Horticulture in Alabama. But the technology can provide a new way to produce nutritious foods in places that would otherwise be difficult. “A great way of thinking about it is decentralizing food production. Controlled environments really allow us to do that very well,” Wells says.

With the success of their container farms, Freight Farms is continually evolving their product line. “We’ve seen Freight Farms have an amazing impact in communities around the world, from increasing food access to providing valuable opportunities to at-risk populations, but we wanted to do more,” Friedman says. “We realized that in order to do so, we needed to go not bigger, but smaller. We wanted to open up the opportunity to more people and communities.”

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