San Francisco startup Farm From a Box has made it their mission to make farming as easy as possible. Their shipping container kit contains all the essentials for starting a two-acre farm (land not included!), which has the possibility to feed 150 people. Founders Brandi DeCarli and Scott Thompson were working at a youth center in Kenya, when they noticed that a lack of infrastructure was a big hurdle to gaining access to food. Thus, the idea for Farm From a Box was born.
“There’s a bit of a missing infrastructure that occurs in a lot of underdeveloped areas, and even here within the U.S,” DeCarli told Smithsonian Magazine. “So we thought, let’s provide communities with the tools they need to be able to grow and sustain their own crop so that the resilience is actually built up from the ground itself.”
The $50,000 kit is aimed at nonprofit humanitarian agencies, schools, community groups, and even individuals. It contains a full watering system, including a solar-powered pump and drip irrigation. In fact, all of the kit's components are solar powered and wireless, allowing you to monitor the farm's status from a smartphone. With 3 kW of solar energy capacity, the farm runs completely off the grid.
Aside from the solar technology, Farm From a Box provides support in the science of farming. The kit includes three stages of training in sustainable farming, farm technology, maintenance, and business. And, special add-ons can customize the kit to your specific needs. Looking for a water purification system or cold storage for produce? All this can be plugged in to tailor the farm to the local climate. Thus far, the system has been deployed at Shone Farm in Sonoma Valley, California. The firm has plans on the horizon for additional farms everywhere from Virginia to Ethiopia, making a global impact.