Shipping Container Farm: The Pros and Cons

Shipping Container Farm: The Pros and Cons

If you go into the industrial area of any major city these days, you are sure to see a few shipping container farms. They are placed anywhere from backyards to parking lots to roofs. But how exactly do they work? Let’s go over the pros and cons of shipping container farms, so you can learn a bit more about these innovative structures.

The Good

You may have seen shipping container farms online, on TV, or in newspapers. Seeing these success stories has created an interest from people who are dreaming of transforming these discarded shipping containers into something useful. How does this work when it comes to the business of growing and selling food?

The top reasons for using shipping containers as greenhouses are:

  • They are modular and easy to ship.
  • They are compact and self-contained.
  • Used shipping containers are cheap and available.
  • Prices will continue to be driven down as the competition increases.

Easy to Transport

The primary benefit of easy shipping for these farms is that it allows manufacturers to set up shop where it is least expensive and then be able to ship them directly to a farm site loaded and ready to grow. This has great potential for the farmer who needs to be able to set up his or her farm quickly and start growing without having to worry about building a greenhouse or finding warehouse space.

Shipping container farm manufacturers can easily get their products to the farmers quickly and efficiently. They can also be sent anywhere in the world and set up in areas that were previously difficult to farm in. Hopefully over time this will help fight hunger around the world.

Leaves a Compact Footprint

Another benefit of a shipping container farm is that you need minimal space to start one and no need for a dedicated building. This means that a modern farmer or company can easily drop one of these container farms behind their restaurant or even in a parking lot. Using a container farm opens up many doors for producing food closer to where it is going to be consumed. If you want to do this, you do need to keep in mind that the container needs to sit on a flat surface to function and can sometimes require a cement pad.

Readily Available

You can find a used shipping container just about anywhere, as they have been used for decades to ship goods overseas. Millions of them have been made and are sitting empty now, just waiting for industrious recyclers to snatch them up. Some types of containers are easier to retire than to fix, such as refrigeration containers. This does represent a loss to the company, so they will be eager to sell any retired containers they can. This makes many types of used containers inexpensive.

Value-Based Competition

With the cost of getting a used shipping container being so low, there are more and more companies getting into the business of boxed farms. The more companies jump on board with this, the more the price will decrease over time as it becomes easier to acquire pre-made farms. Having a lower price point means there will be more aspiring farmers launching new businesses, and this will in turn help the supply of locally grown food in many locations.

The Bad

The core problem with used shipping containers is that they were not designed to grow food. This can put growers at a disadvantage. The biggest drawbacks of container farms are:

  • Difficulty in controlling the growth environment.
  • Structural integrity.
  • Problems with light, heat, and layout.
  • People and workflow issues.

Difficulty Controlling the Environment

If it can be managed well, there are many benefits to a controlled environment. While the benefits of the controlled environment can be good, the small area can also be a curse if the farmer finds the environment impossible to control.

At any given time in an indoor farm, the lights are generating heat and water is evaporating. This means that plants are transpiring and gasses are accumulating and being exchanged. That’s great, because it means the plants are growing! However, with all the heat and humidity, the results are amplified in a denser growing environment. To make sure your controlled environment is a blessing and not a curse, you must understand environmental control, and it must be prioritized in the design of the container farm.

Integrity Issues in Repurposed Shipping Containers

There is an often-overlooked danger of a repurposed shipping container in their limited structural lifespan. These containers have been around the world a few times and have been subjected to salt water and high winds before being discarded. This means they were well worn before they were even made into the farming business.

This will limit the life of the farm. In some cases, the quality of the container is so low that some famers have had their container condemned by the city. If you do go this route of starting a shipping container farm, be sure to carefully inspect the structure and make sure it can sustain your farm.

Appropriate Balance

This goes hand in hand with the controlled environment. Light and heat have an antagonist relationship, so the need for supplying the quality and balance needed for plants to grow to their full potential is a very important one in a shipping container farm.

Plants like light but are sensitive to heat, and this is a delicate balance in a compact metal container. Because of the tight space in shipping container farms, the farmers face an interesting problem. They need high-intensity lighting to grow the plants but often do not have enough space to install enough cooling units to deal with the heat created by the lights.

Human Workflow

The environment of farms is not just designed for the plants, it also needs to be designed for people. The big issue with shipping container farms is that they are not designed for people to work in, and this can pose a real issue for the famers.

There are two reasons why you want to keep your farm labor-friendly. The first is that labor is money, and second is that there is nothing worse than working in a hot, confined space for dozens of hours each week. This can drive workers crazy and make them dread going to work.

How efficiently your workplace is set up for workers is important and sometimes overlooked. Do not neglect this as you are shopping for a shipping container farm. The most practical way to feel out the workflow of your farm is to visit several set-up shipping container farms before you buy one yourself. Talk to other farmers and see what works best for them.

Regardless of the good or the bad of the farming, people are interested in the quality of their food. If you do your due diligence and set up a successful shipping container farm, you are bound to have some success and help play a significant role in solving the supply problem of locally grown food. Not all container farms are created equally, so be sure before you make your purchase.

If you want to check out some more Porta-Stor blogs about shipping container farms, check out The Future of Shipping Container Farms and an overview of the company Farm From A Box.

Storage Ideas: How to Make the Most of Your Space

Storage Ideas: How to Make the Most of Your Space

You have all of this stuff in your home. It’s everywhere, and it’s everything from jewelry to extra power cords. How do you organize it all, and what is the best way to store it? Here are some great, easy storage ideas to help you get all of your stuff stored and organized so you can get the most out of your space.

Shower Hooks and Shower Curtain Rods

There are several ways that you can use these simple and inexpensive items for storage. If space allows for it, you can hang shower hooks in your closet on the clothing rod and hang your purses and belts from them. This is a great way to get rid of all of those accessories lying around on your closet floor.

You can also take an extra shower curtain rod and hang it along the inside of your shower. This allows you to hang more hooks to store things like luffas and a bucket of bath toys. This will keep these things off the back of your tub and give them a place to hang up and dry. You can also hang a plastic fruit basket to hold all of your soaps and shampoos. These ideas will keep your tub and shower clean and clear of things just sitting and collecting mildew and water.


You can use doors for storage? Yep! You can use the back of just about any door in your home to create more storage. The inside of a closet door is great for housing hats, scarves, and even long necklaces. You can make your own door storage with hooks or get an attachment that is made specifically for this purpose.

The inside of a pantry door is great for storing canned goods, herbs and seasonings, or those mountains of water bottles that your family seems to collect. Just stick up some metal shelves or use an over-the-door shoe rack.

The inside of a linen closet or coat closet is a great place to store cleaning supplies or extra toiletries. Again, an over-the-door shoe rack works wonders here!

Storage Cubes

Just adding a couple of storage cubes to the corner of a room can give you some much needed space to store clutter. These canvas cubes will hold items you may want out of sight, like extra charging cords or that stack of old magazines. These can be great in a kitchen to hold your cookbooks and bigger items you don’t want taking up cupboard space.

You can also use these storage cubes and boxes in a child’s room. These are great to sort and organize all those toys that come with small pieces. They really help keep the clutter to a minimum. They have the added benefit of being easy for children to use and helping them know where their toys go and where they can find them.

In keeping with a child’s room, another quick storage idea is to use a dish drying rack to hold crayons and coloring books. This keeps them in reach for your child while having a place of their own. Your child can always see what they have available for coloring fun!

Storage cubes and the baskets that go in them have many other possible uses. Try using different colored bins for each family member to organize backpacks, purses, and other on-the-go necessities. This keeps the clutter off that coat closet floor and away from the entryway. Each family member can have a different color to make it easy to organize. Metal cubes are available as well that are more durable for all the bags and shoes getting tossed into them.


This seems to be an obvious a storage idea, right? They’ve been used all over the world for thousands of years! Well, baskets can be super useful today in a lot of ways all over the house. They are great for holding items that you want to be able to get to easily but do not always want to be seen. A basket by your couch is great for holding blankets. A basket in your bathroom is a great storage idea for your extra toilet paper. Baskets can also be hung on the wall by the door to hold keys and mail. There are countless ways to use any size basket, and the storage ideas for baskets are endless!

Desk Organizers

These little trays are no longer just for your office. A desk organizer is a great way to store jewelry like bracelets and earrings. You can also place one in that pesky kitchen junk drawer and have a way to organize all those batteries and extra rubber bands that make their way there.

You can also use a desk organizer for your craft items, like stamps and ribbons. Another storage idea for craft items is using a paper towel holder for those extra spools of ribbon.


No matter what your family’s hobbies, there is sure to be stuff for them lying around in your garage or coat closet somewhere. Why not hang a pegboard in your garage? Get some hooks and shelves for the board and you have quick vertical storage for all your active gear that is easy to get to and makes more room for your car to get into the garage. These are especially great because they are so versatile and can be changed around whenever you want.

While there are so many more ways to use everyday household items to get your home and family organized, these are just a few storage ideas to get you on your way. Start small with one area at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. The more areas you get organized, the easier and faster the rest of your home maintenance will become. And keep in mind that renting a portable storage unit is a great way to get extra clutter out of your house, for those items that you want to keep around but don’t need on-hand all the time. Happy Organizing!

If you want more storage tips from Porta-Stor, check out our other blogs, such as this one about making the most out of a small space.