SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCBD)– Growing over 4500 plants in a 40 foot box may sound unbelievable. At Tiger Corner Farms they do it every month.
“Every single scientific discipline that I can think of is wrapped up into one box,” says chief engineer Evan Aluise.
It’s a partnership between nature and technology, and it all happens in recycled shipping containers. The innovative farm is operated by 3 sister companies.
One of those companies is Vertical Roots. A horticulture start up in charge of growing and harvesting the plants. Although they have experimented with many different plants, right now they primarily grow lettuce. They produce 7 different kinds.
Co-founder and operator, Matt Daniels, says they yield around 15 harvests a year.
“Right now we’re producing collectively 4000 heads a week, for the public and for Dorchester District 2 schools.”
It could be thanks to the perfect growing climate, the 20 second bursts of nutrient infused water, or the LED panels providing peak amounts of chlorophyll A and B.
All levels are monitored and regulated by a computer program, which was coded by the third sister company, Boxcar Central.
The aeroponic technology is manufactured by Tiger Corner Farms, a company in its infancy, but one with big goals.
“The container that we were in does not look like the next, or the next […] we’re continually evolving into a better product,” says Aluise.
The container itself also goes through a major transformation. It arrives as a bare bones shipping container at the end of its previous life. In two and a half weeks it will be revived and ready for a new purpose.
The crew installs insulation, shelving and a state of the art air conditioning unit. Then they install the technology that will power the project.
Stefanie Swackhamer, general manager of Tiger Corner Farms says watching the containers arrive never gets old. She and her father created the company after she saw a need for healthier food and farming population that is aging.
“It’s a big problem that we aren’t locally sourcing food and eating healthy food on a daily basis,” says Swackhamer.
She is a former Stall High School Teacher. Now her farm provides produce to schools in Dorchester County, and the aeroponic containers are used to teach students.
“We’re teaching kids about technology, we’re getting them excited about agriculture, and we are hopefully creating future farmers that would not have otherwise existed.”
To learn more about the company, you can head to their website: http://tigercornerfarmsmfg.com/