“Sustainable farming in Denver” is quite the statement in itself, but add a little innovation and you find a very compact and efficient solution that uses shipping containers. For Ullr’s Garden, that is precisely what they have achieved when tackling a difficult problem with shrinking land resources and bio-availability. Ullr’s Garden grows sustainable farm crops in climate-controlled shipping containers in a Broadway used-car lot and only uses five gallons of water a day. Finding innovation in environmental sustainability is difficult in urban areas and even more so when pursuing lasting changes in future developments.
Growing local produce in the middle of Denver
Following a standout article from the Colorado Sun, Nick Millisor was interviewed about his and his brother’s project, Ullr’s Garden. “We are growing local produce, in the middle of Denver, on an old used car lot, the kind you used to roll your car windows up when you drove by”. Ullr’s Garden was a project that was launched only a few months ago by the Millisor Brothers. Their project’s goal was to find a viable solution to problems that face modern farming and also sell locally grown produce of their own (this season’s crops are lettuce, romaine, basil, and arugula).
Ullr’s Garden is able to grow and farm crops comparable to a 10-acre farm operation – all condensed down to a 7,500-square-foot lot in Denver. This is achieved by hanging crops and lining them up along rollaway walls horizontally which are neatly tucked away in a climate-controlled shipping container. The entire operation is closely monitored through technology that measures and calibrates the needed nutrients that are delivered through a series of tubes and channels. Additional UV lights are hung and the shipping container is an impressive compact farm right in the middle of Denver.
Sustainable Farming in a compact size
According to the interview, Millisor states that “One trailer with 365 days of optimal growing conditions can produce the equivalent of a 5-acre seasonal farm. Sustainable farming in Denver only needs a daily requirement of 5 gallons of water to be supplied. Millisor even says there is no water tap on the property lot. What is even more impressive, Ullr’s Garden can notify the farmers directly via SMS or Email about any condition or emergency that comes up. Even with the notifications, the garden gives the ability to monitor the operation whenever needed.
Urban Farming and Hydroponics is a great sustainable option
Traditional farming will continue to be the main provider of our veggies in the near future but it is important to recognize the challenges that are approaching. With concerns about the land to grow on(both quantity and quality) and the increasing populations, traditional farming may come up short. Vertical farming and the likes of Ullr’s Garden offer many benefits that traditional farming cannot. Dr. Kai-Shu Ling a research plant pathologist with the Vegetable Research Laboratory in Charleston, SC has similar insights about an operation like Ullr’s Garden. While crops produced by traditional farming are limited by geographic region and seasonal changes. Vertical farming allows growers to grow regional or seasonal crops indoors year-round. Vertical farming takes place inside, grows crops in stacked layers, and uses artificial growing systems such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and other methods.
While these types of projects do not require the services of a design and build contractor like Sustainable Design Build, SDB is always eager to share unique and innovative projects that take on sustainability problems. This is a great project that offers a sustainable farming in Denver combating increasing food demand and depleting land resources.
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