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Interior view of our previous farm in Ridgefield, CT
September 2019  (Version 1.0)

Interior view of the new production facility in South Norwalk, CT September 2021 (Version 2.0)

About the farm

High Ridge Hydroponics' production facility is a unique approach to agriculture, using high-density, vertical farming methods. The farm combines hydroponics, vertical farming, and Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) in a custom-built 40' shipping container. The entire farm is 320 square feet in area (0.007 Acres) and can produce the equivalent amount of vegetables which can be grown on 2 acres of field farming per year! In addition to climate control equipment, by using LED lighting, timers, and sensors so we can monitor the farm and grow year-round. There’s no seasonality, unpredictable weather events, pests, or weeds in the farm, and every day is a picture-perfect day for our plants. By combining vertical farming with hydroponics we are able to increase overall production 7x per square foot. 

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Exterior view of High Ridge Hydroponics' Prototype Farm in Ridgefield, CT. This is a metal shipping container wrapped with wood and painted to resemble an old-style barn.

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Our farm is in production 24/7/365. While outdoor-based CT farms are planting cover crops in their fields and preparing for winter, we are ramping up and getting ready for our peak growing season. In the winter, we can produce microgreens, wheatgrass, hydroponic leafy greens, herbs, edible flowers, and more. It would be near impossible to grow these same crops in the below-freezing temperatures and low light conditions of the Connecticut winters without a heated greenhouse. For this reason, most consumers source their produce from distributors who resell produce grown thousands of miles away in warmer climates like Southern California or Central America. However, when ingredients travel across our entire nation on a truck or are flown in from other countries, the flavor diminishes and it becomes less nutritious. In the farm, we harvest all of our crops at peak flavor and nutrition. Also, we use a grown-to-order model which means that nearly everything being grown in our farm already has a destination. We have developed our proprietary "Growth Recipes" in our farm, therefore we know exactly how long each crop will take to grow. Microgreens usually take anywhere from 10-12 days (depending on variety) to grow before they are ready to harvest. Once harvested, the greens are packaged, stored cold, and delivered to your kitchen within 24 hours from being in the farm. 

Interior View of the Ridgefield Farm, with microgreens grown in 10x20 trays on vertical shelves. 

As a startup company, we are continuously looking for ways to improve our growing methods and equipment.  Our growers have a variety of experience growing in different hydroponic systems. Over the last two and a half years we have designed, built and grown our greens in two facilities. The first was based in Ridgefield, CT and was our working proof of concept. We used what was learned in this shipping container farm to make innovations to our current facility. Our current facility is located in South Norwalk, CT. This facility has an improved design and infrastructure in order to make our overall growing process more efficient and consistent. We utilize artificial lighting combined with climate control equipment to create the optimal environment for plants to grow all year round. Our goal in using the shipping container is to be able to standardize the environmental conditions in order to get consistent results no matter the exterior climate. 

This shipping container farm has the potential to change the agriculture industry as we know it. As the world population continues to grow, demographic trends show more people are moving to urban areas which means there is an increasing need for food supply there. Meals in the US typically travel over 1,500 miles from the farm it is grown on to the plate it is eaten from. This is not a sustainable food system, so we need to localize our food production! However, soil quality in urban areas is poor, and large/fertile plots of land are hard to come by. Additionally, our planet faces significant environmental issues like water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and invasive species. Therefore, an urban soil farm requires a lot of work to flourish in a constant battle against the elements. 

 

Primarily, container farms are used for their ability to control the climate and to create a year-round growing season in nearly any location around the world. The ability to precisely control the environmental conditions allows the farm operator to grow a wide variety of products within the desired climate. The most commonly grown crops in this method of agriculture are leafy greens, herbs, and microgreens. These crops require less space, time, and nutrients than other crops like tomatoes, corn, and zucchini, which are commonly grown in the United States. 

The benefits of shipping container farms are numerous and will continue to grow in popularity as technology improves! 

Below is a collection of pictures taken before, during and after building the prototype farm. 

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February 6, 2019 -

Dimensions: 40' L 8'W 8.5'H

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February 10, 2019 Interior Metal Framing Completed

February 16, 2019 Spray Foam insulation

completed. 

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February 25, 2019 - Walls, ceiling, floor, grow racks, and storage installed. 

Picture Tour of South Norwalk Facility and Retrofitting the Farm
May - September 2021

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November 2020 - First site visit, still being occupied by the previous tenant. The "Before"

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April 30, 2021 - An opening in the wall was made to be able to get the shipping container in the building.

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May 3, 2021 - The room needed a little TLC after being a garbage room for a factory. The entire room was washed, sanitized, and painted. 

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April 28, 2021 - Room is mostly cleared out waiting for the arrival of High Ridge Hydroponics farm.

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April 30, 2021 - The size of the hole is 10'x10' The height of the shipping container is 9'6". 

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May 4, 2021 - Bringing the room back to life with a few coats of paint and primer. 

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May 5, 2021 - Visiting the warehouse to check on the status of the custom fabrications needed to turn a retired shipping container into an indoor farm. 

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May 5, 2021 - Roll out the blue carpet. 

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May 17, 2021 - Delivery Day! Our 40' container arrives bright and early on a tractor-trailer. 

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May 17, 2021 - In position for the drop. The driver was experienced which made the delivery a lot easier. 

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May 17, 2021 - We used forklifts to position the container to be slid into the 10'x10' opening in the wall. 

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May 17, 2021 - It was a tight squeeze! 12 inches on the sides and 6 inches on the top! 

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May 17, 2021 - 3 inches clearance overhead to avoid triggered the sprinkler system. 

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May 17, 2021 - The container is in its new home and ready to be retrofitted to become an indoor farm. 

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May 17, 2021 - Backing the truck into the position. 

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May 17, 2021 - The container is unstrapped the driver tilts the flat bed and drives out from under the container. 

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May 17, 2021 - The Container was lined up perfectly to be pushed into the room. It slid easily once it was on the concrete floor. 

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May 17, 2021 - The shipping container was no match for this forklift. 

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May 17, 2021 - The container is in its new home and ready to be retrofitted to become an indoor farm. 

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May 17, 2021 - The container is in its new home and ready to be retrofitted to become an indoor farm. 

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July 7, 2021 - The electrical work is complete, the parking lot is freshly paved and the garage door is installed. 

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July 7, 2021 - New garage door 

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