I ran across an article about PodPonics in Atlanta in this month's Urban Farming Magazine. This company is growing the equivalent of 2 acres of lettuce and micro-greens per 53 foot shipping container. They have lots and lots of them on leased land in the flight path of the Atlanta airport. They are using hydroponics and not aquaponics, but the possibilities are exciting. When they run out of room they have visions of stacking these vertically.
IMHO this seems very energy intensive and will in no way compete with other hydro in green houses. Energy is only going to go up in price and this does nothing to decouple energy with food production. 2 acres sounds quite outlandish for a 500 square foot print... that would mean that they are producing at more than 160 times the yield... Think about if that $750,000 investment they raised was used to create 7 medium size AP greenhouses. Now that would be something
Thanks for sharing anyway.
Maybe it's just where I live, but when I saw these pods I immediately thought about how secure they are compared to most greenhouses I've seen. When I look at the pods I would never guess they were the basis of an urban farm. If you tried to put a greenhouse where I live it would be destroyed within a matter of a few hours. If these pods get spray painted it's not going to cause much heartache for anyone. I live near 3 different greenhouse operations and they shut down for 4 months every winter due to the zero degree temps we get here, I think the containers may have an advantage for winter time growing.
I read a little more on their website and in a few other articles to get a better sense of where they are headed and their vision. I am left with the impression that their business model must be at least on the way to profitable because they talk about the need to be profitable in order to be sustainable. What I can't tell is whether they have $750,000 tied up already, or if they are going to be adding more capacity with the $750,000. If they are tripling in size over the next year and using the $750,000 to accomplish that then I can give it more credit.
I personally know of two CSA's that have spent a lot more than $750,000 on more than 15 acres and they are in no way shape or form even close to profitable. If it weren't for government grants they wouldn't exist at all.
If nothing else, I applaud them for their effort. They obviously are doer's and action takers.