What ‘Supporting Local Farms’ Really Means

We often hear the phrase “Support your local farmers.” But what does that really mean?

Well, it contributes to the economic vitality of local communities in a major way. When consumers choose locally produced goods, they help sustain crucial local farming operations, preserving agricultural land and maintaining rural (and urban) livelihoods. In turn, this fosters a stronger economy by generating employment opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurship within the community.

Supporting local farms also promotes environmental sustainability. Locally sourced produce often requires less transportation, reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping. This can lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a more eco-friendly and sustainable food system. Many local farms prioritize sustainable farming practices, promoting biodiversity and soil health, too. These elements of the operations can’t be overstated.

Buying from local farms often means fresher and more flavorful products as well. Locally grown produce is typically harvested at peak ripeness, offering consumers higher nutritional value and better taste. This connection to fresh, seasonal ingredients can also foster a greater appreciation for the diversity of crops and promote a healthier diet, while ensuring that people have a longer period of time to eat the food before it goes to waste.

Supporting local farms plays a role in maintaining food security. By diversifying the sources of food production and distribution, local communities become less vulnerable to disruptions in global supply chains, like what we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. This localized approach helps build resilience against external factors that could impact food availability and affordability.

In a social context, backing local farms fosters a sense of community. Farmers markets and direct-to-consumer sales allow for direct interactions between producers and consumers, creating a stronger bond and understanding of where food comes from. This connection promotes a shared commitment to sustaining local agriculture and can strengthen community ties.

In short, supporting local farms goes beyond the act of buying food; it’s a holistic investment in the economic, environmental and social well-being of communities. Choosing locally sourced products empowers local farmers, promotes sustainability, enhances the quality of food and contributes to the resilience and cohesion of communities. What more can you ask for?

Sustainable Food Production Isn’t Just Possible, It’s Inevitable

The idea of adopting sustainable practices in food production to address critical environmental, social and economic challenges has until recently been seen as a pipe dream, an impenetrable barrier to progress.

There’s concern about costs and whether implementation would be widespread enough to result in noticeable change. But as tech has advanced and prices have slowly come down, this is something that’s within our grasp and something we should expect to see in our lifetimes.

Sustainable food production minimizes environmental degradation by promoting practices that conserve soil fertility, reduce water usage, and mitigate the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Prioritizing ecological balance helps safeguard biodiversity, maintain ecosystems and combat climate change. This is crucial for ensuring the long-term viability of our planet and securing the availability of natural resources for future generations. We don’t want to be remembered as the generation that had the opportunity to do something, but squandered it.

Sustainable food production has significant social implications. It fosters equitable distribution of resources, promotes fair labor practices and supports local communities. Sustainable agriculture often involves small-scale, community-based farming that empowers local producers and reduces dependence on large-scale, industrialized farming systems. This not only strengthens local economies but also enhances food security by diversifying sources and reducing vulnerability to external shocks, such as the supply chain disruptions that crippled our food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopting sustainable practices in food production is essential for addressing global food security challenges. As the world’s population continues to grow, ensuring a stable and sufficient food supply is going to become more difficult. Sustainable agriculture emphasizes efficiency and resilience, optimizing yields while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. By embracing methods such as agroecology, organic farming, and precision agriculture, we can create a more robust and resilient food system capable of meeting the nutritional needs of a growing population without compromising the health of the planet. Again, this is achievable with a little bit of political will and a whole lot of education.

Sustainable food production is also economically prudent. While initial investments may be required to transition to sustainable practices, the long-term benefits far outweigh the costs. Sustainable agriculture, like farming in controlled-climate shipping containers, reduces reliance on expensive inputs, maintains soil health for traditional growing, and promotes resource efficiency, leading to increased productivity and decreased production costs over time.

It opens up new market opportunities as consumers increasingly prioritize sustainably produced goods, creating a positive feedback loop that encourages businesses to adopt environmentally and socially responsible practices. It’s already happening in the U.S. People have shown a willingness to incorporate changes into their own lives, and they’re more cognizant about where their food comes from. Taking a holistic approach isn’t some esoteric, “hippie-dippie” idea anymore. Creating an equitable future for both people and the planet, while expanding access to nutritionally dense foods, isn’t just achievable, it’s imperative.

Why Localized Food Production Matters

Local food production, or “localized agriculture,” offers a range of benefits that can have positive impacts on individuals, communities, and the environment. gourmet mushrooms

Freshness and Flavor Matter!

When food is grown nearby, like in a shipping container farm, it can be harvested at its peak ripeness and delivered to consumers more quickly, which results in fresher and more flavorful produce compared to items that have traveled long distances.

Nutritional Value

Fresher produce typically retains more of its nutritional value because it spends less time in transit and storage.

Reduced Food Miles

Growing food locally reduces the distance it needs to travel from farm to plate. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation, helping to mitigate climate change.

Support for the Local Economy

Local agriculture supports local farmers, creating jobs and contributing to the economic vitality of the community. It keeps money circulating within the local economy, which can have a multiplier effect.

Community Engagement

Growing food near the consumer often fosters a sense of community. Customers can connect with the farmers who grow their food, fostering relationships and trust.

Food Security

Hyperlocal food systems can enhance food security by reducing reliance on distant sources of food. In times of disruption, such as natural disasters or supply chain issues, local food production can ensure a more stable food supply.

Preservation of Open Space

Supporting local agriculture can help protect open spaces and agricultural lands from development, preserving the rural character of communities.

Customization and Diversity

Local farmers may be more responsive to consumer preferences, allowing for a greater variety of crops and specialty products. This can lead to a diverse and unique food offering, in addition to food that’s culturally relevant to the community as a whole.

Reduced Food Waste

Because local food doesn’t have to travel long distances, it is less likely to spoil in transit. This can help reduce food waste, which is a significant issue in many parts of the world. Around one-third of food grown in the U.S. goes to waste.

Cultural and Culinary Connections

Local food systems often celebrate regional culinary traditions and cultural diversity. Consumers can enjoy foods that are unique to their area and learn about local food traditions.

Seasonal Eating

Eating locally encourages seasonal eating, as consumers rely on what is currently in season in their region, which promotes a healthier and more diverse diet.

Health Benefits

Fresher produce can be more nutritious and may encourage people to consume more fruits and vegetables, leading to improved health outcomes.

Transparency and Accountability

With shorter supply chains, it’s often easier for consumers to trace the origin of their food and ensure it meets certain quality and safety standards.

While there are numerous benefits to growing food close to the consumer, it’s important to recognize that not all types of food can be grown locally in all regions due to climate and other factors. Therefore, a balanced approach that combines local production with responsible global sourcing may be necessary to meet all food needs sustainably. We will always need traditional farming to grow staple crops like corn and wheat!

What Types of Plants Grow in a Vertical Hydroponic Farm?

We dedicated more than two years to research and development, figuring out what will and will not grow in our containerized Vertical Hydroponic Farm.

The following list is not meant to be all-encompassing, but rather provide a snapshot of the types of crops that we and our customers have focused on, like yellow onions, collard greens, kale, a range of different micro greens, bok choy, red leaf beet and watercress. Of course, we’re always experimenting and adding to the list.

Vertical hydroponic farm

Peppers

    • Jalapeno- Jefe, Jalafuego
    • Habanero- Helios, Paper Lantern
    • Serrano- Altiplano
    • Sweet Pepper- Lunch Box
    • Cayenne- Red Flame
    • Ghost peppers

Tomatoes

    • Slicer- Mountain Fresh
    • Grape- Verona
    • Cherry- Sakura

Lettuces

    • Romaine
    • Muir
    • Rex
    • Magenta
    • Rouxai
    • Red Butterhead
    • Green Butterhead
    • Green Star
    • Ezflor
    • Grazion
    • Red Oak
    • Tropicana
    • Frisee

Herbs

    • Cilantro
    • Parsley
    • Chives
    • Oregano
    • Prospera Basil
    • Genovese Basil
    • Purple Basil
    • Spicy Bush Basil
    • Dill
    • Lavender
    • Purslane
    • Mint

Greens

    • Rainbow Chard
    • Collard Greens
    • Red Vein Sorrel
    • Arugula
    • Dandelion
    • Golden Frills
    • Kale
    • Tatsoi
    • Red Kingdom
    • Spinach- Lizard, Space

Flowers

    • Viola
    • Marigold
    • Nasturtium

Cucumbers

    • Pickler- Excelsior

Beans

    • Bush Beans

Starters

    • Pumpkin- Jack O’Lantern
    • Sunflower- Giant, Skyscraper, Mixed Colors
    • Marigold- Crackerjack, French Double Dwarf

Fighting Back Against Hunger and Improving Food Access

“The world is at a critical juncture.”

That’s the headline of an article about the state of food security and nutrition in the world. In painstaking detail, the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations uses the article to describe how the number of people affected by hunger globally increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It estimates that between 720 million and 811 million people faced hunger. If you go with the middle of the projected range — around 768 million — 118 million more people faced hunger in 2020 than in 2019. How does this happen and what’s being done about it?

The Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations says that unless bold actions are taken to accelerate progress, especially actions to address major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and inequalities affecting access to food, hunger will not be eradicated by 2030, as the U.N. had hoped.

After remaining virtually unchanged from 2014 to 2019, the prevalence of undernourishment climbed to around 9.9 percent in 2020, from 8.4 percent a year earlier, the article says.

According to FoodBankNews.org, all of this activity is happening against a backdrop of heightened emphasis on nutrition from the USDA, which in mid-March released a report outlining its commitment to nutrition security (in addition to food security). The USDA noted the importance of nutrition in fighting diet-related disease, which is a leading cause of illness in the U.S., accounting for more than 600,000 deaths each year, or more than 40,000 each month.

Sadly, the pandemic continues to expose weaknesses in our food systems, especially when it comes to access. New farming practices, including controlled-environment agriculture, are increasingly being recognized as a potential solution to fill the gaps and avoid supply chain delays entirely. 

Strategically placing container farms in and around population centers could have a dramatic effect on providing a sustainable and secure source of nutrient-rich food. These farms can produce 200-300 pounds of fresh food weekly and help feed people in marginalized communities. They can also be used to help train the next generation of urban farmers and create jobs, providing ancillary benefits that can reverberate for years to come.

FarmBox Foods Unveils Plans for Hydroponic Fodder Farm

FarmBox Foods is developing a hydroponic fodder farm that will be sold beginning this year. It will produce roughly 1,000 pounds of fodder per day.

FarmBox Foods Unveils Plans for Hydroponic Fodder Farm

hydroponic fodder farm
Fodder is used as a dietary supplement for livestock, including beef cattle and dairy cows. Just look how much that cow on the left is enjoying it!