Homeless people face countless obstacles when it comes to eating healthy.
Fresh vegetables aren’t commonly accessible to low-income and homeless people.
But a container farm could change that.
In this article, you’ll learn how a container farm can provide fresh, healthy food for homeless people.
First, we’ll go over what a container farm is.
Container farms are shipping containers turned into small indoor farms.
They use hydroponics to grow crops indoors without soil.
They can be placed pretty much anywhere, as long as there’s enough room with electricity and water connections.
Since they’re made from shipping containers, they’re only 8 feet wide by 40 feet long.
But they still have the ability to grow up to 400 pounds of produce each month!
This is through the use of vertical farming, which grows crops upward in addition to horizontal.
They can grow a variety of leafy vegetables, herbs, mushrooms and some fruits.
So, they can be used to supply food for a kitchen, or for handing out food on the street.
Shipping containers are already being used to help homeless people.
In Los Angeles, an architecture firm began building affordable housing out of shipping containers for homeless people to live in.
The complex is four stories with 84 available units for rent.
London has also provided housing for the homeless with shipping containers.
The city built an apartment complex with 34 fully furnished units, for those who need a place to live.
Homelessness has been rising across the United States.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than half a million people were homeless in the United States. That number is expected to be much worse by the end of the year.
Homeless people have the least amount of access to healthy food, compared to other populations.
This is because they have limited money to buy food, eat for fullness rather than nutrition and consider food quality to be a low priority.
Without access to a kitchen to prepare a healthy dish, spending your limited money on cheap ready-made meals makes the most sense.
And when you don’t know when your next meal will be, the high calorie burger is more appealing than a salad.
Nonprofits and farms have already started to work together to make produce more accessible for homeless people.
When the pandemic started, thousands of small farmers lost customers, resulting in a surplus of products.
With help from their communities and local organizations, food banks have been able to buy up those surpluses.
Other nonprofits have started gardening programs for homeless people.
These offer employment opportunities and fresh ingredients for local shelters.
For example, in Atlanta, a homeless shelter started a rooftop farm, where residents work together to grow food for the shelter.
Instead of starting an outdoor farm with limited production, nonprofits would benefit from a container farm’s efficiency.
A container farm has the ability to provide up to 20 times as much lettuce per square foot, as a traditional garden.
This would provide the shelter or food bank with more healthy food, without having to rely on inconsistent donations from farms.
They would have nutritious, fresh produce to use all year long.
Additionally, affordable housing complexes could use a container farm to further help residents.
Finding affordable healthy food isn’t only a problem for homeless people.
Including a container farm on, or near an affordable housing lot, would help low-income and at-risk families as well.
As you can see, a container farm is a great way of providing fresh, healthy food for the homeless.
Call us at 602-753-3469 or visit our website to find out how your organization can start container farming.