The heavy steel door of a nondescript shipping container swings open to reveal a forest of green and purple within. Romaine lettuce, arugula, oak leaf, bay leaf, and basil – pungent and peppery – hang from the walls of the chilled container.

The lights flicker through the infrared spectrum. Blue light for strong stems and dark foliage. Red light for large, leafy greens. “This is the future of farming,” says Codi Whittaker, as he controls the miniature eco-system from an app on his smartphone.

The single 40-foot hydroponic container farm can supply up to 1,500 heads of lettuce per week – equivalent to the output of between two and three acres of farmland.

But Whittaker and his partners at ‘Primitive Greens’ don’t plan to stop there. Their vision is for an indoor mega-farm that can supply enough produce to feed the entire jurisdiction. Plans are in the works for a hurricane-proof facility housing at least 50 containers and powered by its own solar farm.

The result will be the equivalent of a 150-acre farm packed into less than 1% of that space. The concept of food security has always seemed far-fetched on a salt-sprayed island with limited landmass and unpromising soil. The relatively new field of commercial container farming could transform that, providing an elegant solution to a centuries-old problem. “This is definitely a game changer,” says James Whittaker, one of the partners in the venture.

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