Freight Farms sees demand growth when supply chain falls short
The head of a container farming company says the pandemic and continued logistical challenges have intensified interest in controlled environment agriculture.
Rick Vanzura’s business Freight Farms builds containers that can grow about two-and-a-half acres of crops hydroponically in less space than a semi-trailer.
“It’s definitely significantly increased demand for them—institutional demand—we’ve seen interest from large restaurant chains for instance that we’d never seen before,” he shares.
Vanzura tells Brownfield leafy greens typically travel thousands of miles from California or Arizona before reaching consumers, and supply chain breakdowns have amplified quality losses and a lack of availability.
“That not only results in all of that carbon footprint, but it subjects the crops to a lot of waste and just degradation in value, nutrition, flavor, and texture,” he says.
By comparison, he says the controlled environments also eliminate the need for pesticides or herbicides and are 99% more water efficient than traditional counterparts.
“Most of the guesswork of the farm is taken out by the fact that we can do so much to our software, we can preplan recipes for different crops,” he explains.
Vanzura says the barrier to entry for beginning farmers is also lower with containers starting at $149,000 and constant training available.