Boston has been slammed with record snowfall this year, and the city is still struggling to dig out. Meanwhile, despite the deep freeze, fruits and vegetables are being grown in refurbished, insulated shipping containers using hydroponic technology. These fruits and vegetables are then sold to local restaurants and through other outlets, boosting the city’s growing urban agriculture movement.
The shipping containers are called “Freight Farms,” and the company that produces them was co-founded by Jon Friedman and Brad McNamara in 2010. All the systems (including growing lights) can be digitally controlled and are also Wi-Fi hot spots.
NPR’s “Here and Now” show – out of WBUR in Boston – spoke to Freight Farms co-founder Brad McNamara:
“They can set alerts. They can set alarms,” McNamara says, adding, “So if you’re at home and it’s really cold outside, your farm is covered in snow, you don’t actually have to leave your house to go check on things.”
Shawn and Connie Cooney are using a Freight Farm to grow food for sale.
“Now we’re at the point where we’re asking what the restaurants want,” Connie Cooney says. Mustard greens, with their wasabi-like finish, are a popular request.
With a 365-day growing season, the Cooneys are always in business. Their four freight containers can yield as much produce as four acres of land – in less time, they say, than it would take to grow on a traditional farm.