Benefits of Shipping Container Farms and Greenhouses

Have you ever wondered if there is a use for shipping containers after they are used to ship products across our vast oceans? The answer is a resounding yes, the fact is that shipping containers can be converted into use for growing produce and have already been used for this purpose for quite some time.  There are many benefits to using shipping containers as greenhouses and as farms.

Image from Tiger Containers 

Vertical Growing

The interior of the shipping container is converted into growing space vertically rather than across the floor. This vertical growing style utilizes all the available space inside of the shipping container, so it is the best use of space possible. Plants grow up the wall in pockets with strings to guide them and hold them in place. The trays of plants can be removed so that they may be harvested and then the trays are replaced with new plant starts to complete the next growth cycle.

Compact Units Take up Less Space

Shipping containers can be stacked and will fit into smaller spaces so they can be placed anywhere and don’t require a large amount of land to sustain them. This makes container farming suitable for urban areas as equally as rural areas. Containers are unassuming on the outside while on the inside are producing food for hundreds of families.

Year-Round Production

Using shipping containers means that the growing season is not limited to the traditional growing season. With the use of grow lights and hydroponic nutrients, the grow season can be extended to cover the entire year. This can save money on the cost of food imports during the off season from traditional harvests. Shipping costs are usually added to foods that are imported from far away which can add quite a bit of cost to produce.

Local Food Production

You have probably heard of the 100-mile diet where people attempt to source foods for themselves within one hundred miles of where they reside. Shipping container farms ensure that food is grown locally and is readily available for families in the immediate area of where the food is grown. Fresh and healthy local food is produced locally, ensuring that families have access to quality food all year.

Low Cost Food Production

Aside from the costs of purchasing the shipping containers, having them shipping to your local area and then outfitting them with the necessary lighting and equipment, costs are not excessive. The food producer does not have to purchase expensive farm equipment to maintain the crops, water costs should be lower (due to there being no direct sunlight) and crops can be harvested as and when they become ready, removing the need to hire hundreds of workers at harvest time.

Uses Less Energy and Resources

Shipping container farms use less electricity than traditional farming operations. They also cost much less to set up and maintain than a land-based farm. Container based farms can recycle their own water which means that they use much less water than traditional farms. The space used inside the container is 40’ x 8’ x 9.5’ and is equivalent to 1.5 to 2 acres of land space. The interior of the shipping container is temperature controlled so that it does not get too hot or too cold and the expenses for electricity to power the shipping container greenhouse is far less than the transport costs required to import food from other locales.


Shipping containers can easily be converted into greenhouses by removing the top and replacing it with a plastic or glass dome. This is different than an indoor farm style container because it is not fully contained and does not have hydroponics and lights. Greenhouses are simpler because they do not include the complicated irrigation systems that indoor farms do. The greenhouse option is a good one for people who do not want to spend a great deal of money outfitting a container farm.

Urban farming is becoming increasingly important as we start to run out of green spaces on the planet and have more mouths to feed. The use of shipping containers for urban farms is a way to ensure that there is plenty of fresh produce and food to go around to all who need it. The cost of traditional farms includes not only the use of a lot of space but also the immense cost to irrigate and harvest the crops and then to transport them to the markets where people can access the food.

Urban farms are becoming more popular with people who want to have the option of a local farm but don’t have the funds to invest in a full-sized farm. The option of shipping container farms means that the investment is much smaller, and the yield is much higher, for an extended period. Shipping container farms are easy to set up, have an incredibly small footprint and can be used to grow a variety of foods for local people. A container farm can supply a small local area with the fresh produce that it needs to sustain itself without having to rely on imports from other countries.

There are a few components to successful container farming and greenhouses. Those include knowing the ins and outs of hydroponics, obtaining the right lighting systems and understanding which plants grow the most quickly and offer the highest yield. Plants with a shorter growth cycle that can be started and then planted to quick maturity offer the best returns. Container farmers have the best results with salad greens because they are highly adaptable and grow very quickly.

Shipping container farms grow 50% more food with 85% less labour, meaning that the cost of running the farm is much lower than a traditional one. In the future, we may see many more shipping container farms popping up in local areas due to their convenience and health benefits. Shipping container farms are the wave of the future for so many great reasons and shipping container suppliers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.


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