The Leafy Green Machine is a fully assembled, vertical hydroponic farming system built inside a 12m shipping container, allowing any individual, community, or organisation to grow fresh produce all year round.

Shipping containers can do more than transport goods across the oceans. Freight Farms has created a container suited for growing lettuces, herbs, and other greens using a fraction of the natural resources that would usually be required. The Leafy Green Machine is designed for easy operation and requires no previous farming experience to operate. The company estimates that once up and running and connected to water and electricity, farmers can expect to harvest up to 70kg of produce a week. It works using hydroponic and vertical farming techniques to optimise space and reduce water requirements by 98% compared to conventional techniques. Smart monitoring tools and software also help to maintain optimal growth conditions inside the container, 365 days a year.

More than 200 Leafy Green Machines are now in operation all over the world, with some interesting stories behind them. For instance, a university in Maryville has set up an on-campus container farm, Ford Motors has donated container to help to feed Detroit’s food-insecure areas, and an American entrepreneur has built a urban farming business with a Leafy Green Machine, growing and selling a variety of fresh herbs in Brooklyn.

Why you should care

Between 70-90% of the world’s fresh water usage goes to growing food. Using hydroponic techniques, the Leafy Green Machine claims to cut water demand by up to 98%, which could help to reduce the demand on freshwater reserves, especially from cities.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Sustainable cities and communities

The Leafy Green Machine requires 90% less water and a fraction of the space than traditional farming, helping to reduce the environmental impact of cities’ food demands.