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How to Build a Shipping Container Farm

04.10.2015 - Posted by Updated On 04.10.2015    

Shipping containers are turning up all over the place these days, and it’s no surprise that they’re being converted into hydroponic farms. Logically, it makes perfect sense: hydroponic farms don’t need any sunlight, are completely self-sustaining, and can be located anywhere in the world. The big question is, how to build one. Over the next couple of weeks, some of the staff of is going to be involved in designing and building a hydroponic shipping container farm in Northern Finland, and the process is going to be documented in a series of articles.

Hydroponic container farming can be divided into two sections, construction of the farm, and the ongoing production and operations of the farm; and this series of articles will focus on both sections of the project.

Why Northern Finland

Northern Finland (Lapland) is a remote, relatively isolated place with a harsh climate. In the summer, there is roughly 23 hours of daylight, while in the winter there is little to no daylight. The ground is frozen solid in the winter, and marshy and soft in the summer, making growing any type of crop challenging. The closest airport is Rovaniemi, and all agricultural produce is shipped in through this hub, making many types of vegetables very expensive.

A shipping container farm in this area could provide fresher vegetables, at a lower cost.

The Shipping Container Farm

The project is starting with a 20’ refrigerated shipping container as the shell. A reefer container is required in this climate because we need to maintain a constant temperature year round, and the insulation will be required to keep the container warm in the arctic winters. Our container is being shipped to Luosto, Finland from the port of Helsinki.

Inside of the container we will be constructing the racks and water system to feed the crops. While we will go into greater detail at a later time, the initial purchases will be as follows:

  • PVC tubing,
  • Water pump and reservoir,
  • Air pump,
  • Grow lights,
  • Timer systems,
  • Temperature, light, and humidity sensors,
  • Growing chamber/trays.
  • Solar panels (optional: the cost of electric in northern Finland is expensive, and during the extended daylight hours in the summer this could offset production costs).
shipping container farm

During the production phase a regular water supply and electric, as well as the appropriate nutrients to fertilize the crops. We will also include a mobile application to manage and control the internal conditions of the container.

The next article in this series will go into greater detail on constructing the racks and water systems involved in the container far, followed by construction, and lastly crop production management. We invite you to ask any questions in the comments section, or Tweet us is an online marketplace for buying and selling new and used shipping containers around the world. We work with several of the leading shipping lines and container lessors around the world to provide a fast, efficient transaction. If you have any questions about container farming, shipping containers, or container housing feel free to contact any of the listed sellers on the site, or our staff directly.

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