Farm from a Box™ offers rural communities local food production

From on 12/08/2015 in Category Company, Hybrid Energy System with 4 Comments
Farm from a Box featuring SMA technology

By simply unpacking a standard shipping container, the health and economic opportunity for an entire village can change forever. SMA has proudly partnered with Farm from a Box to develop a complete, off-grid toolkit for localized food production that is ideal for rural communities worldwide.

Farm from a Box featuring SMA technology

SMA’s Lennart van Walsum, far right, shakes hands with representatives from Farm from a Box’s during a robbon cutting during the test unit’s kick off in Sonoma, California.

The Farm from a Box micro-farming solution includes everything from water purification and irrigation to seedlings and solar power, offering users the ability to produce their own food and a long-term source of income. Each unit is powered by the included 3kW solar system featuring 10 high-efficiency solar modules, a Sunny Island 6048-US off-grid inverter, a Sunny Boy 3000TL-US with Secure Power Supply, a Sunny WebBox for remote monitoring, an SMA Smartformer transformer and Trojan deep-cycle batteries. The solar system is complimented by a 3,000-watt generator.

Farm from a Box also includes a water pump, water filtration system, drip irrigation kit, seedling house, soil amendments and basic farming tools. There also is high-efficiency LED lighting, secured storage, a mobile charging area, communications/Wi-Fi, geo-spatial mapping and a data monitoring platform. Rounding out this comprehensive solution is a full training program that covers ecological farming practices, technology use and maintenance, and basic business and entrepreneurship.

These revolutionary toolkits are ideal for humanitarian aid, refugee camps, post-crisis rebuilding, private-sector development and community cooperatives for areas like urban food deserts. Each Farm from a Box shipping container can serve more than 150 people, nearly 2.5 acres of land and a wide range of crops, including grains, vegetables and fruits.

Farm from a Box partners

An impressive list of equipment comes within each Farm from a Box shipping container.

A Farm from a Box test unit is currently up and running in Sonoma, California, with another scheduled for deployment in the Rift Valley, Ethiopia, later this year. Located at Shone Farm, home to Santa Rosa Junior College’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, the Sonoma system serves as a local showcase and research and development site, including prototype and component testing and tracking of results and capabilities.

The unit in Ethiopia will be a fully operational pilot project that will test, measure and collect data points in cooperation with a local women’s cooperative to help shape and refine the training and implementation program before further rollouts globally. We’ll post updates as Farm from a Box units begin operation in some of the world’s most remote corners.

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4 Comments

  • avatar

    Antony Tersol

    04/08/2016 at 8:43 am

    You have a technical bulletin [http://files.sma.de/dl/7910/SB-OffGrid-TI-US-en-18.pdf] that says that the TL-US-22 inverters are “since 2016, no longer supported” for off-grid use.

    Can you clarify why that is true, and is it only true in the US?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      04/08/2016 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Antony,

      As of February 2016 the Sunny Boy TL-US was no longer the recommended inverter for off-grid Sunny Island systems and the new Sunny Boy-US series replaced it as the recommended inverter for off-grid Sunny Island systems to fully utilize the latest technology available.

      I hope this clarifies things for you,
      Justin

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Eric

        05/24/2016 at 7:26 pm

        Justin, I’m looking at that file and I’m having trouble understanding how an inverter could be recommended for backup but not off-grid. Fundamentally they seem similar. Once your backup system kicks in, you’re essentially off-grid, right?

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        05/25/2016 at 5:13 pm

        Hi Eric –

        Thank you for your question. One of our technical trainers will be able to discuss this topic with you in more detail. I have shared your information with the SMA Solar Academy and one of its team members will contact you soon.

        Best,
        Justin

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