Farm to Table? Meet Shipping Container to Table.

April 09, 2018


At Ernest, the only thing we love more than eating food is admiring the packaging it came in. Even looking past the awesome design, health-conscious shoppers look to packaging to ensure their food is fresh, organic and locally sourced. In an effort to ensure that everyone has access to natural, locally sourced food, one entrepreneur is trying to repackage the traditional concept of farms. We can hardly CONTAIN our excitement!

Square Roots is a new approach to urban farming that was founded in part by Kimbal Musk — you might recognize that last name, as his brother Elon is the pioneer behind the electric car company Tesla. Oh, and he recently shot a rocket into space. No biggie. But while Elon transports spaceships millions of miles away, Kimbal’s goal is to shorten the distance between food sources and your dinner plate.

“We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm if you can bring the farm to the farmer,” says Musk. He’s part of the incredibly popular trend of urban farming, which thousands of Americans do either as a hobby or as a business. Whether it’s community gardens in shared plots of land or chicken coops in a backyard, urban farmers bring fresh, locally sourced food to densely populated areas.

While Musk isn’t alone in his passion, his approach is a unique one — he’s using abandoned shipping containers in Brooklyn to get the job done. Inside each of its ten 320-square-foot containers is the equivalent of two whole acres of farmland. That’s enough to yield 50,000 crops per container each year!

shipping container farm

person packaging food

Crops are grown, harvested and packaged on-site

Photos: Square Roots

Taking a step inside one of the containers is like stepping into a science fiction movie. You’ll see plants like strawberries and kale growing all along the walls, lit by colorful LED lights. Glowing computer panels allow farmers to change the climate to suit different crops. But the one thing you won’t see is soil. These crops are grown hydroponically, meaning these plants only rely on about a shower’s worth of nutrient-packed water to grow. No dirt required.

Because Square Roots operates inside relatively small spaces, these micro-farmers can grow crops year-round, right in major metropolitan areas. That’s a major step in bringing healthy, fresh produce to people who currently rely on food being transported thousands of miles away from its source. Musk is essentially taking the shipping out of the food industry, from inside a shipping container.

urban farming graphic

Food is such an integral part of our everyday lives; it’s no wonder brilliant minds are working to keep it as fresh and tasty as possible. Packaging is a vital part of that process, and Ernest Packaging Solutions is proud of the role we play in getting your meal from its source to your plate.

Ernest specializes in custom packaging solutions that keep your food fresh, whether it will travel across the country or right down the block. Our TempEndure® technology ensures your temperature-sensitive leafy greens reach your shopping cart at the just right temperature. Check out how Ernest is moving food packaging forward!