Urban Farming 2.0: From Plow Beams to Leafy Green Machines

Posted on Aug 18 2017 - 3:45am by UOG


Shawn Cooney swings open the door of a 320-square-foot industrial shipping container to reveal a futuristic setting: hundreds of edible plants growing in vertical columns, fed by the energy from strings of neon red and blue LED lights. Nutrient-infused water cascades from ceiling spigots down through artificial root systems in the growing towers. The temperature inside feels like a comfortable spring day – about 70 degrees F., with a touch of humidity. There isn’t a speck of dirt anywhere.

Welcome to the new urban farm.

This shipping container is one of four that comprise Corner Stalk Farm run by Mr. Cooney and his wife in the heart of Boston. Once the cargo holds for exhaust-spewing 18-wheelers, these discarded freight vessels have been transformed into units known as Leafy Green Machines outfitted with state-of-the-art growing technology by a company called Freight Farms. Now they help farmers turn out crops of lettuce and herbs at a rapid pace.

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