Farm from a box

Vanquishing Hunger: The Box Plan

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Author

Lilian Ritchie

Lilian Ritchie

School

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University

Professors

Kent Williams

Kent Williams

Cassia Gohl

Cassia Gohl

Global Goals

2. Zero Hunger 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 17. Partnerships for the Goals

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Summary

Farm from a Box is the world’s first all-in-one sustainable farm unit, totally off-grid and highly efficient. Farm from a Box is powered entirely by clean, solar-powered energy and allows farmers to grow fresh, nutrient-rich food regardless of where they are. Farm from a Box uses modified shipping containers as the basis of its product, as each container is modified to be powered by solar panels, including the main pump that circulates water throughout the unit. Farm from a Box is also highly efficient and minimizes waste from traditional agricultural methods– it employs water-efficient drip irrigation systems that produce a 50% greater yield than conventional irrigation systems while simultaneously using 50% less water. The unit also has up to 85% lower energy costs than a traditional electric expense. It is entirely off-grid, meaning variability in growing seasons is eliminated, as users can reliably grow their food no matter where they are located. The entire project is highly sustainable and meets several of the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal 2 (zero hunger), goal 7 (clean energy), and Goal 13 (climate action).

Innovation

Farm from a Box presents the world’s first, legitimate alternative to traditional agriculture and the waste that accompanies it and meets many of the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including the following:

2- Zero Hunger

6- Clean Water and Sanitation

7- Affordable and Clean Energy

9- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

13- Climate Action

17- Partnerships for Goals


Vanquishing Hunger: The Box Plan

Inspiration

Our team was inspired after coming across a TEDx talk on YouTube while brainstorming for our AIM2lourish project. Specifically, the role technology plays in strengthening local food production across the globe.

We looked at how togetherness is the essential bonding agent that can lead to greater societal resilience and prosperity.

Looking at different concepts to mitigate food insecurity in a sustainable and practical method led us to further research. Upon our investigation, we discovered Farm from a box by pure chance. We made the connection that the TEDx talk “How Togetherness & Technology Can Transform Our World” given by Brandi Decarli, who we were initially inspired by, is one of the founders of the agriculture Farm from a box company. This company immediately caught our eye; not only was the concept ingenious and something we all had not seen before. It took account of every little detail for the idea to be replicable/ practical. Before coming across Farm from a box, we struggled to find an organization encompassing the SDGs we were all drawn to.

Overall impact

Farm a box is one unit with multiple uses. Revitalizing local food production strengthens supply chains and facilitates technological job creation and training opportunities. It provides a clean, accessible food source while mitigating food export. While empowering people and their quality of life.

Business benefit

Farm from a Box has had a tremendous impact on innovation and, more broadly, on society itself. In terms of the effect of their innovative solution to sustainable cultivation is their story.

The idea for Farm from a box was formed from the social justice and advocacy of two entrepreneurs working in Africa. Scott Thompson and Brandi Decarli Scott had been working in Kenya, using modified shipping containers to deliver health care and educational services. Shortly after meeting Brandi, the two realized that there was a need for an even more essential service: growing sustainable, nutritious food in the communities themselves (Farm from a Box, n.d., “Our Story” section). Brandi’s philosophy has always been that business can be a “positive force for environmental and social good in the world”, which underlies the vision of Farm from a Box (B. DeCarli, personal communication, July 21, 2022). The two harnessed their social networks and consulted with skilled farmers and biodiversity experts worldwide, emphasizing sourcing clean energy for their innovation, which they sought by using 3k Solar panels. They utilized modified shipping containers to provide a self-contained ecosystem, totally off the grid, providing ready-to-grow food for local communities worldwide (Farm from a Box, n.d., “Our Story” section).

Social and environmental benefit

In terms of impact on society and the environment, Farm from a Box has transformed how communities view sustainable agriculture. In many areas of the world, particularly Saharan Africa, there is a shortage of arable farmland. Worse yet, the presence of war, natural disasters, pests, and a host of other factors has traditionally limited the ability of communities to reliably row foodstuffs, as there is always variation every growing season. Farm from a Box takes all the guesswork of cultivating self-sufficient farmland. Farm from a box unit facilitates perfect growing conditions regardless of the season. An environmentally friendly approach to water irrigation uses 50% less water than traditional irrigation systems while simultaneously having a 50% greater yield (Farm from a Box, n.d., “Technology” section).

Energy costs can be reduced by 85% while being powered entirely by clean energy.

Farm from a Box isn’t just providing nutritious, readily accessible food. It facilitates the growth of new communities while having access to healthy food regardless of your socio-economic background.

It’s one thing to talk about making a difference, but it’s another to do it and make critical partnerships that show the product has a use case. Farm from a Box recently partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme to demo the first unit in Tanzania, which is being used with a local community to provide them with food all year (Republic, n.d.). In addition, Farm from a Box has partnered with Cisco, Trojan Battery, Canadian Solar, and a host of other companies to allow for product scaling and leverage existing sales channels, quickly adding to the potential customer base.

Interview

Brandi Decarli, Founder

Photo of interviewee

Business information

Farm from a box

Farm from a box

San Francisco, US
Business Website: https://farmfromabox.com/
Year Founded: 2009
Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Farm from a Box is the world’s first all-in-one sustainable farm unit, totally off-grid and highly efficient. The storage unit is powered entirely by clean, solar-powered energy. It allows farmers to grow fresh, nutrient-rich food regardless of where they are, with just one Farm from a box unit facilitating 2 acres worth of farmland, feeding 150 people. Farm from a box is creating self-resiliency for local communities across the globe as food insecurity has become more prevalent than ever before. Farm from a box believes we all have the right to clean, healthy food sources, which can be done sustainably.