UPDATE: this article refers to pricing and features available in March 2015, and the information may have changed. Please contact the company for current pricing and information.
Along with "exponentially higher" yields, the CropBox promises that their complete growing system also uses 90% less water and 80% less fertilizer than conventional agriculture does.
The latest entry into the growing urban agriculture sector pairs a high-tech hydroponic growing and monitoring system with one of the darlings of the repurposing movement, the humble shipping container, yielding a "farm in a box" that can produce large quantities of fresh local vegetables year-round.
The CropBox, which is manufactured by long-time greenhouse builder Williamson Greenhouses, is an outgrowth of a project of Ben Greene and Tyler Nethers, who are developing the Farmery, an urban farm and grocery in North Carolina that uses shipping containers to grow strawberries, greens, lettuces, herbs, and gourmet mushrooms.
The shipping containers, which can fit 2800 planting spots in the 320 square feet (~ 30 square meters), are outfitted with grow lights, planting racks, a heating and ventilation system, all of the necessary hydroponic components (reservoir, pump, control & monitoring system), and a complete suite of 18 sensors for monitoring just about every environmental condition inside the container. Additionally, the networked computer system that runs the CropBox can be accessed and managed from a smartphone or web interface, and provides a complete log of records for analyzing the unit's performance.