Mobile Alabama Farm
Picture this: an up-cycled shipping container transformed into a 3.4-acre hydroponic oasis – that's where our story began. In 2016, our original concept, the Container Garden, reimagined urban farming by utilizing vertical space to create a hydroponic farm inside these containers. Inspired by the history of Mobile, Alabama, a port city, we set out to revolutionize agriculture while paying homage to our city's industrial heritage.
The Container Garden was a testament to our pioneering spirit. It combined modern technology with eco-conscious practices, allowing us to grow over 56,000 plants within the confines of less than a quarter acre. With LED lighting and NFT systems, we eliminated the need for soil and significantly reduced water usage, employing a closed-loop system that used only a fraction of the water required by traditional farms.
Our vision extended beyond containers – we dreamed of bringing delicious and nutritious produce to the heart of downtown Mobile. We aimed to reclaim blighted urban space for farming, using vertical growth and sustainable practices. We planned to establish an urban farm on St. Michael Street, a space equivalent to a sprawling 20-acre farm. This dream was backed by a commitment to grow nearly 9,000 heads of lettuce, herbs, leafy greens, and small vegetables each week, with an uninterrupted growing season throughout the year.
However, the journey from concept to reality was marked by challenges that many startups face – from navigating financial hurdles to unforeseen obstacles. The path was not without its twists, and the pandemic further tested our resolve. As much as we were driven by our passion and determination, the Downtown Mobile Urban Farm concept remained unrealized.
While our original concept did not come to fruition due to a series of challenges, we stand proud of the progress we've made and the community we've built. Shipshape Urban Farms is a living testament to resilience, adaptability, and the spirit of innovation. We've evolved, fine-tuning our techniques, and harnessing cutting-edge technologies to create a vision for the future of agriculture. Alongside this journey, while our downtown urban farm dream faced its challenges, we remained steadfast in our commitment to fostering sustainable practices and community engagement. We supported a local CSA, providing fresh produce through our Container Garden Prototype, a hydroponic greenhouse and in-ground planting at our Test Farm in Irvington, Alabama. Through farmers markets, local restaurants and grocers, and dedicated efforts, we not only nourished our community with wholesome produce but also formed deep connections with incredible individuals who became our steadfast supporters. This journey stands as a testament to the resilience of our team and the surrounding community.
As we reflect on our journey, we invite you to explore the possibilities that urban agriculture holds for your community. Our dream of an Urban Farm in downtown Mobile remains alive, waiting to be explored and nurtured. If you're passionate about transforming urban spaces into green havens, let's connect and discuss how we can collaborate to make this vision a reality for your community.