Sky view of shipping containers

Shipping Containers to House the Homeless and Grow Food for the Hungry

Homeless aid is getting cities to think about creative ways to quickly help those in need. Cities are looking for ways to build affordable housing and reduce the homelessness rate. Shipping container homes may be the homelessness relief our cities need. Many places, like Los Angeles and Tokyo, have already started using shipping containers to help give people a place to come home to.

It Started With a Shipping Container

But, how can we feed the homeless? A company called Local Roots thought outside the shipping container box and decided to grow produce in an empty shipping container. Local Roots is “on a mission to boost global health and seek sustainability in farming.”  They use empty shipping containers to make indoor farms to help bring the urban communities access to farm-fresh produce. This sustainable agriculture can help feed the homeless.

Shipping Container Homes: Potential Homelessness Relief

Shipping container homes provide the right amount of space for individuals to live comfortably. It’s a creative way to use a container to bring help to a community. Could it be that this is the solution that cities have been looking for to provide homelessness relief?

Test cities

Major cities all over the world have discovered the affordability of constructing shipping container homes to relieve their homelessness. In Los Angeles, California, they wanted to find a way to take care of their homeless population. Due to a high volume of people living on the streets, KTGY Architecture + Planning began to build housing from shipping containers that provided a kitchen, bathroom, and a bedroom/dining area. Those who live in these container homes will pay little to no rent and will have a case manager to assist them in receiving government assistance.

London has also gotten on board with providing emergency homes for the homeless with the use of shipping containers. The Ealing borough of London has built a modern apartment complex that includes 34 apartments with an on-site laundry room, playground, and management office. They come fully furnished with the essentials for anyone that is in need of a place to call their own.

Meet the Shipping Container Farm

With cities having limited access to fresh produce, shipping containers can provide the answer to fulfill the need for farm-fresh vegetables. In 2017, the LA-based company, Local Roots, announced that their sustainable way of farming has reached cost parity with traditional farming. This way, grow systems like Local Roots can help fulfill the need for fresh produce in any environment and any climate. Their current cops include kale, mustard greens and Italian Basil in addition to many varieties of lettuce. Trial crops include many herbs and upcoming crops include strawberries and raspberries, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli and beets.

Sustainable agriculture to feed the homeless? A perfect solution!

One 40-foot shipping container can produce a crop equal to five acres of farmland. Food grown in containers can grow year-round and some are sustainable, using solar and/or wind power and can go off-grid using batteries in addition to the elements. Food grown in these modified shipping containers are beyond organic, they are grown without pesticides or herbicides and they use 97% less water than traditional farming. Placing a food container farm in close proximity to the storage container homes built for the homeless can only improve the quality of life for the recently homeless.

Can this really be a solution?

While shipping container homes are a low-cost and eco-friendly solution, they may only be a short-term solution. Other efforts must be made in cities to completely end homelessness. Finding what is the source for the rate of homelessness is the first place to start on the path to eradicating homelessness completely. Once you address the source, efforts can be put into place to aid those in need and prevent homelessness rates from skyrocketing again. For now, container homes are doing their part to be a solution to the issue.

Part of the Solution

With constant innovation and strive to provide the freshest produce possible, Local Roots is on the right path of showing the world that you can take an empty container and make it a part of a food movement. Companies like Local Roots that use storage containers to grow organic food year-round can help fulfill the need for fresh produce for the homeless and the hungry not just in large U.S. cities, but around the world. Through the use of hydroponic grow systems, Local Roots is helping bring the urban communities access to farm-fresh produce. This sustainable agriculture can help you start thinking of ideas for your empty shipping container.

Shipping Containers for The Next Innovative Idea

If you have a creative idea for the use of an empty container that can improve the community, or if you want to help your community with homelessness relief, Storage on Wheels can provide you with shipping containers. We will work with you to get you started on creating an impact for your community. Or, if you would like to start your own farm in a shipping container, Storage on Wheels is here to help! We have a variety of shipping containers to get you started. Come see the options today!

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