This Start-Up Fits a Whole Farm in a Box

Farm From a Box/Facebook
Farm From a Box/Facebook / Farm From a Box/Facebook

If the holiday season has taught us anything, it’s that you can fit just about anything in a box—scarves, Power Rangers, grandma’s favorite toffee. Now, Smithsonian Magazine reports, two agricultural entrepreneurs are putting an entire two-acre farm “in a box.”

By “box,” they really mean a modified shipping container. But Brandi DeCarli and Scott Thompson promise everything you need to build a sustainable farm in one $50,000 toolkit with their new venture, Farm From a Box.

The concept originated in 2009, when DeCarli and Thompson were working on a youth center in Kisumu, Kenya. The construction called for several shipping containers to be placed around a soccer field, which housed items and services designed to further the education and health of local kids. Inspired, DeCarli and Thompson wondered if they could replicate this scheme to help communities boost their food production.

Now, one Farm From a Box prototype (known as “Adam”) can be found at a school in Sonoma County, California—and the company is set to expand into West Sacramento and Virginia next.

So what do communities get when they order up this box? It's not seeds and shovels. As DeCarli told Smithsonian Magazine, the contents “can be narrowed down to an off-grid power system, a complete water system with a solar-powered pump and drip irrigation system, and connectivity.” There's also a training program that comes with the container, and customers have the option to add items that are essential to their area, like a water purification system or internal cold storage to keep produce fresh.

Of course, those extras factor into Farm From a Box’s normal price range of $50,000 to $60,000. But that cost may change as DeCarli and Thompson continue to experiment with smaller models—which would be ideal for urban farms or refugee camps—in the new year.

[h/t Smithsonian Magazine]