Customer: Modular Farms, Canada and Australia.
"Is container farming a good idea? And, if yes - how should it be done?”
Between 2010 and 2015 Intravision and CESRF evaluated a series of food-production projects which included the freight-container approach - for sites ranging from - 40°C settlements in northern sub-artic Canada and urban establishments in inner-city Toronto - to + 55°C desert sites in the Middle-East. Our consistent conclusion were that we did not recommend this footprint: Due to a combination of the cost and space needed for both insulation and for the needed technical infrastructure for the controlled environment technology in such a very small and low-yielding system.
However, in 2015 we were approached by the Canadian startup Modular Farms, and asked if we could help them with a LED-light system for a new freight-container system, which they planned for an Zip-Grow tower arrangement. Inspired by the positive energy in the original two-man Modular Farm team we turned down the freight-container, but accepted the challenge of a developing a modular and truck-able system.
Plant production system
Canada and Australia
Modular Farms, CESRF,
University of Guelph
The tech-transfer: CESRF had at the time engineered a greenhouse in Antartica, and we recycled the environmental structure of this. With the assistance of a Norwegian offshore-oil consultancy company, and Norwegian Eik Design we then developed the initial Modular Farm concept. We increased the width and height of the box from the freight-container 8ft by 8ft cross-section to a 10ft by 10ft size allowing space for dehumidifiers and air-management above the plants. As part of this project we also developed the first generation of our double sided Spectra Blades™ - 8ft long 2-channel LED lamps. Intravision then assisted in building the first 2015 Modular Farm, and have since delivered Spectra Blades™ to a number of new-builds in both Modular Farms Canada and Australia.
Above: First MF prototype with plants, Intravision CTO Tomas with co-founder Eric Amyot
Below: Photo from MF Australia, courtesy of MF Australia