Welcome to the Norwex Movement

Home Grown Produce in the Heart of the City


leaf
Home Grown Produce in the Heart of the City

Images courtesy of Freight Farms

No Soil or Insecticides Required

Have you ever wished you could enjoy fresh, locally grown produce year-round, but weren’t sure where to find it? If you’re a city dweller, you could be in luck!

Thanks to small, self-contained “farms” called the Leafy Green Machine, vegetables and herbs like lettuce, kale, basil, oregano and mint can be grown all year, virtually anywhere in North America.

The Leafy Green Machine is the brainchild of Freight Farms, a company founded in 2010 by Brad McNamara (CEO) and Jon Friedman (President). As reported by CityLab.com, the idea was born from McNamara’s love for healthy produce as well as a desire to see languishing city spaces put to better use.

There’s an App for That

The Leafy Green Machine is basically an upcycled freight container turned into a hydroponic growing system. Now, an internet connection, access to potable water and electricity, along with a small investment (less than $100,000 to get started), are all you need to have your own “smart farm in a box.”

  • Each 320-square-foot container is outfitted with 256 vertical growing towers and the technology to control light and water quality.
  • It yields about an acre’s worth of food each year (approximately 4500 plants).
  • Only 10 gallons of water a day is needed—an estimated 90% less than required by conventional growing methods.

Home-Grown, Closer to Home

chain

According to the company’s website, “By decentralizing the food supply chain and bringing production closer to consumers, Freight Farms is drastically reducing the environmental impact of traditional agriculture and empowering any individual, community or organization to sustainably grow fresh produce year-round, no matter their location, background or climate.”

And because old freight cars are upcycled to create these unique farms, some of the problems associated with other small-farming methods are alleviated.

An Alternative to Rooftop

While rooftop greenhouse projects have been successful in bringing fresh produce to many inner-city areas, the permitting and design phases of those projects are time-consuming, and the specific needs of each site make them difficult to replicate. This all combines to make commercial-scale urban greenhouses quite expensive—often anywhere from one to two million dollars.

By contrast, the Leafy Green Machine costs $82,000 ($85k for the Premium model). Operating costs are estimated at about $13,000 a year for electricity, water and various growing and packaging supplies.

Interested in joining the ranks of freight farmers, like this one under I-93 in Boston? Check out FreightFarms.com to learn more!

comment_2People from all walks of life are discovering the joys of small-farming. How about you? Have you ever thought about running your own farm? We’d love to hear from you. Just leave us a comment below.

Resources:

Do you insist on locally grown produce for your family?

View Results
 
Yes:
 
58%
No:
 
42%
Total Votes:
92
View Poll
guest
11 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
vsp5924
vsp5924
5 years ago

This is an interesting thing! I think Juice Plus Distributers do something similar, on a smaller scale, I have a girlfriend that is a distributer.

Heather Stevens
Heather Stevens
5 years ago

We have a local grower in SC she sells at the farmers market.

Sandra Shove
5 years ago

My friends Birgitte Christensen and Jane Worsham, both sell Tower Gardens through Juice Plus. They are really quite fascinating. To see and smell!!! I love fresh picked veggies; but, I especially love them when presented on platter!

Carrie Minturn
Carrie Minturn
5 years ago

I love seeing innovation like this!

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

This is fantastic!! What a great idea!! I love this….it’s so important to get local produce as it’s fresher and can be picked at just the right time. So much better for all.

Linda Nietz
Linda Nietz
5 years ago

Very interesting. A good alternative to greenhouses. I have been studying vertical gardening for several years and this is a different method for doing that.

Tanya Aoyagi
Tanya Aoyagi
5 years ago

We love shopping for local produce, and our city has a lot of restaurants that focus on locally grown and sourced food. This seems like a wonderful idea for those long winter months that we have!

Jen Haralson
Jen Haralson
5 years ago

This is such an incredible idea! I love that it can work in a variety of climates, making it easy to apply all over the world. I wonder if used shipping containers can be used, since that would make it an even better solution, including reuse as well?

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

I enjoy frequently going to the local farmers market. Farming is hard work. I enjoy growing my own garden, I cant imagine running a farm.

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

Very interesting. Farming is hard work.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

My husband and I plan on farming once he is out of the military! <3