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Farms In A Box: Boston Businesses Grow Produce In Shipping Containers

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill Kate Merrill
Kate Merrill is an Emmy award winning journalist for WBZ-TV News. She...
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EAST BOSTON (CBS) – Sitting in the middle of a tow yard in East Boston is something you can barely even notice. But a large green container has people excited.

One neighbor said “I think it’s awesome, it’s good for community.”

Nestled among the trucks, is Shawn Cooney’s new business.

“I sold a software company in 2013 and was looking for the next thing to do,” he told WBZ-TV.

And what he’s doing, is really growing on him.

(WBZ-TV)

(WBZ-TV)

This is Corner Stalk, a fully functioning farm in an old shipping container, in the middle of the city.

“Most people can’t get their head around it until they walk in and see for themselves,” Cooney said.

Here he’s growing basil, lot and lots of basil.

And now, he’s selling it to a produce wholesaler in Boston.

“Most surprising is how much product they can get out of this container.  6,000 plants. An acre of basil for this one small space,” said Brad McNamara.

(WBZ-TV)

(WBZ-TV)

McNamara and a friend started “Freight Farms,” a farm in a box.

“You get the whole box, everything you need to grow. You plug it in and add water,” he told WBZ.

Here you plant the seed, move them to the vertical towers and the plants grow, thanks to the specially designed lighting, air and watering system.

Brad McNamara inside Freight Farm. (WBZ-TV)

Brad McNamara inside Freight Farm. (WBZ-TV)

“The key is plant density and plant efficiency, the efficient use of light water and space all together,” McNamara said.

From basil to peppers, lettuce and kale, they are thriving in this tight space.

It’s the future for city farmers or anyone looking to get fresh local produce way off the farm.

So far, sixteen containers have been sold and eight are here in Boston.

They cost $70,000 per unit.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

 

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