Environmentalists look at ways to grow produce using shipping containers

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New hydroponic farming methods using recycled shipping containers allow for up to five acres of produce to be grown. (KABC)

Co-owner of Local Roots, Eric Ellestad says it's taken four years to create a growing model that can be utilized anywhere from arid deserts to frozen tundra.

One garden is capable of growing five football fields worth of produce a year in extremely economical and environmentally friendly conditions through hydroponic gardening methods.

"We design build and operate controlled environment indoor farms. We can optimize for the freshest, healthiest, delicious, most nutritious leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, using 99 percent less water and no pesticides or herbicides," said Ellestad.

"Not only are people getting more of the nutrients that they need when they eat our product, but it also tastes better. We're able to grow crops two, three, four, sometimes five times faster than you would in a conventional farm," said co-founder Matt Veil.

No soil, no farmland needed.

They take a typical shipping container and using technology they can take a container, put it anywhere in the world and have a terra-farm up and running in five to seven days.

"We developed a team of plant scientists, agronomists, hardware engineers software engineers, electrical engineers and data scientists. We collect data ranging from C02, temperature, humidity, air flow, different wave lengths of light, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients," said Ellestad.

Their biggest challenge is energy. Currently the container uses the equivalent power needed to run seven American households, but they're looking at renewable energy sources and use a very efficient LED lighting system.

"We can actually deliver less light than it receives from the sun, but focus on the categories that activate photosynthesis," said Ellestad.

The company wouldn't reveal the cost to create the containers, but you can try their produce now being used at Mendocino Farms, Tender Greens and sold at Bristol Farms under the Local Roots logo at a price point comparable to regular growers.
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