There is great concern these days about the increasing urbanization of the Earth and, in turn, the dwindling supply of land. With less land, there are fewer places to farm, and the future of food production is still hanging in the balance. Will it be able to stay in balance, though?
Ben Greene may just have designed a solution, called the CropBox. A recycled shipping container that takes up about as much room as two parking spaces can grow more than an acre's worth of food inside. Cheaper and easier to maintain than a typical greenhouse, farmers can control everything via smartphone.
Everything in this case means the phone can control light, temperature and water. It provides a camera so crops can be easily monitored and gathers data to chart performance and generate trends.
Unlike a greenhouse, the CropBox can grow crops all year long since it is a self-contained unit that does not even require sunlight. This will take the guessing game out of weather as well as seasonal shifts. The CropBox uses nearly 90% less water and 80% fewer pesticides that traditional agricultural methods. The container's placement can also help cut down on transportation costs if placed near restaurants and grocery stores.
Currently, the innovative CropBox is available for rent or purchase with a rent-to-own option coming soon. With the right planting plan and production, Greene believes that buyers could earn back their investment in as little as seven months.
The only drawback associated with the CropBox is the amount of electricity that is needed for crop production. Greene is hopeful that as energy technologies advance and offer renewable and more efficient options, this drawback will become quite minimal in the near future.
Greene is also a co-founder of the Farmery. This business is based on an entire farm created solely from the shipping containers and works much like a farmer's market. Customers come into the hydroponic farm and choose their own produce. This market could exist in an urban setting as easily as a rural area since it takes up considerably less area than a typical farm. Although this invention will not solve world hunger, it could provide better options for people in the future.