You likely know Ford as a car company, focusing on the manufacturing of cars. However, the company has also made significant strides in recent years to broaden their focus to philanthropic efforts, something that was emphasized recently by Ford Motors and Detroit’s Class Community Social Services. The division of the company announced a new type of farm that they are funding to help feed the greater Detroit area, focusing on a hydroponic container that will help increase the overall productivity and sustainability of the farm.
This hydroponic container was funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund, a sector of the company that is specifically focused on philanthropic endeavors to help improve certain areas that are suffering from malnutrition or poverty.
In this way, the new Ford Freight Farm was established to specifically help those in the greater Detroit area who are struggling with money and food, giving families in need the proper fresh vegetables to feed themselves. This will support the families by going to a non-profit community kitchen that will subsequently serve the food to the families. This is an incredible initiative, as there are over 700,000 meals served each year in this community kitchen, an astronomical number that undoubtedly helps the community.
How Does a Container Farm Work?
A container farm is a unique type of sustainable resource because of the hydroponic container from which it gets its name. It allows farmers to effectively store and grow a remarkable amount of plants within a controlled space, typically equivalent of two acres of space on a traditional farm. This is because the container uses LED lights to speed up the process of growth, meaning that there can be up to 52 harvests within a good year. This rate of growth is incredibly revolutionary and seeks to completely change the way that we provide food to others, making more than enough food to reduce hunger greatly in impoverished areas.
Container farms are kind of a miracle in the way that they work—they typically can operate without sunlight, pesticides, or even soil, making the overall farming process easier than it has ever been. The reduction of these methods of farming also means that the industry can adapt, allowing businesses running container farms to employ disabled people in any given community who might not be able to do traditional farming jobs as easily.
What makes hydroponic containers different than other types of supposedly innovative farming is that there is no compromise necessary to effectively run a container farm. This is because the LED lights used to grow the plants do not affect the quality of the harvest, meaning that you can provide fresh vegetables to people who need them without worrying about the industrialization of the process resulting in a quality decline.
Importance of Philanthropic Efforts
In the past 10 years it has become abundantly clear that we need to think more effectively about the ways in which we use the Earth to harvest food. There are cultures in the world that currently have an abundance of food while others are starving, an imbalance that makes finding sustainable farming solutions an essential part of progress. Being able to find ways to do this not only effectively but ethically helps us increase the overall harvest, making it so we can feed communities at faster rates and for cheaper prices.
Container farms are undoubtedly the future way of doing this, allowing us to grow food in more affordable ways without having to sacrifice any of the quality we associate with a natural, fresh farm-based approach.
This is why it’s so important that companies such as Ford are doing what they can to further their philanthropic efforts, as it is not only a way to continue pushing agricultural technology forward, but also help other humans in the process. Through the Ford Motor Farm, many families in the greater Detroit area will be fed meals that they deserve—meals that allow them to have nutritious food that is also accessible and delicious.
The 40-foot shipping container that the Ford Freight Farm is comprised of was the second installment of a $250,000 grant that the company received from the Cass Community Social Services for its philanthropic efforts. As a result, the Ford Freight Farm will be stored in the Cass Community Social Services Building, allowing it to be even closer to the people that it will eventually be serving.
Because of this new and innovative technology, many families in the greater Detroit area will soon be receiving high-quality food at a farm-to-table rate of only half an hour! As the future presses forward, it’s clear that innovations like the ones taking place at Ford Motor Company are what is needed to help increase productivity and continue helping communities.