The Ultimate Guide Before Buying a Container Farm

Your Path to Vertical Farming Success

Huvster Container Farm, Grow Anytime Anywhere

Whether you plan on venturing into the world of container farming or if you are already a player in the industry, it is essential to understand the challenges faced by modern agriculture, learn from the most common challenges people face when starting a vertical farming business, and the potential of vertical farming to achieve food security by creating a profitable business and/or making fresh produce available on places where it is hard to grow and depend on a complex logistics.

This guide provides insights about the opportunities that vertical farming is opening and gives valuable feedback to learn from the challenges and keys to succeed in container farming sharing Verde Compacto’s 7 years of experience in the industry.

What you will find in this guide:

  1. Challenges with Modern Agriculture
  2. Achieving Food Security Through Vertical Farming
  3. Challenges with Container Farming
  4. Opportunities with Container Farms
  5. Virtual Visit to a Container Farm
  6. Common Challenges When Looking for a Container Farm
  7. Common Challenges When Starting a Container Farming Business
  8. Unlocking Success with Verde Compacto, Experts in Vertical Farming

Challenges with Modern Agriculture:

Eroded dry land

Today modern agriculture is facing great challenges, that if not addressed would complicate food supply in the following years, the following challenges are seen more and more often in different countries around the world:

  1. Land Constraints:

Arable land is diminishing, with only 3% of the Earth’s surface suitable for agriculture. The need to increase food production is driving intense deforestation of our natural reserves.

 “Agricultural expansion drives almost 90 percent of global deforestation”.

This issue is affecting densely populated regions, fast-growing urban areas, and countries with limited available farmland. For example, highly populated countries like China and India face significant land constraints, leading to the need for alternative farming methods.

Learn more about urban agriculture:

  • Climate Change:

Extreme weather events caused by climate change disrupt traditional farming practices and can result in up to 25% crop losses. Regions highly vulnerable to climate change, such as coastal areas, arid and semi-arid regions, and countries in the tropics, face significant challenges in agricultural production and depend on a complex and fragile supply chain. Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and small island nations are among the areas most affected by climate change impacts on agriculture.

  • Water Scarcity:

Around 70% of global freshwater is used for agriculture, yet water scarcity affects 40% of the world’s population. Regions experiencing water scarcity, including parts of Africa, the Middle East, and certain areas in Asia, encounter major hurdles in irrigation and sustainable water management for agriculture. For instance, water scarcity is a pressing issue in countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and parts of Australia, where water resources are limited.

This is a fast-growing challenge in the US, new farming methods will be needed to address food production in the years to come.

“Two of the largest reservoirs in America, which provide water and electricity to millions, are in danger of reaching ‘dead pool status.’ A result of the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, experts say.”

  • Pesticide Dependency:

Pesticide usage is widespread, with an estimated 5.2 billion pounds used annually, posing risks to human health and ecosystems. This issue is prevalent in countries heavily reliant on conventional farming practices and where regulations and awareness about pesticide alternatives are insufficient. Developing countries like India, Brazil, and the United States are major pesticide consumers, highlighting the need for more sustainable and healthy farming methods.

  • Food Transportation:

Food travels an average of 1,500 miles, resulting in increased carbon emissions and reduced freshness. This challenge affects regions that rely heavily on long-distance food imports, including countries with limited agricultural production capabilities or those facing geographical barriers, such as remote islands or landlocked areas. For example, small island nations in the Caribbean and Pacific region heavily depend on imported food, leading to high transportation costs and environmental impacts.

Germany, The US, China, and The UK are on the list of the largest food-importing countries in the world together representing over 300 billion dollars a year of food imports, this shows an immense opportunity for locally-grown products to reduce food dependency on the largest world’s economies.

“15 largest food importing countries in the world”,and%20China%20with%20%2430.4%20billion.

Achieving Food Security through Vertical Farming:

Chef harvesting farm to table basil

Vertical Farming is a fast-growing industry (24.7% CAGR) with an expected value of 15.3 billion dollars by 2028 due to the huge impact on food security and farming efficiency as follows:

  • Efficient Land Use:

Vertical farms can produce 20 to 200 times more food per unit of land compared to traditional farming annually. This makes urban farming a more powerful solution allowing it to have higher yields in a smaller footprint, perfect to supply highly populated cities and grow near the consumer in areas such as supermarkets, buildings, hospitals, and restaurants.

  • Climate Control:

Automated Environment and Nutrient Control systems installed in vertical and container farms enable year-round production virtually anywhere in the world, resulting in 365 days of crop yields without the dependence on favorable weather conditions.

Controlled environment agriculture opens new farming opportunities in regions exposed to extreme weather conditions and environmental disasters to have constant and standardized high-quality food production available year-round.

  • Reduce Water and Pesticide Dependency:

Vertical farming techniques such as hydroponics require 95% less water and significantly reduce the need for pesticides.  

For every Huvster container farm, 500,000 L of water can be saved annually when growing lettuce. Making it a suitable and sustainable farming solution to face water scarcity and at the same time increase clean and healthy food production.

  • Localized Production:

Vertical farms are reinventing the actual food supply chain, they can be located near the final consumer in remote communities, islands, and urban areas. This is increasing the supply of locally grown produce which reduces transportation distances, food waste, and storage ensuring fresher produce and promoting food security.

Now, to decide where vertical farming can impact the most, or where can it be more profitable it is important to understand different factors, such as geographical and market conditions.

The level of opportunity of a new vertical farming project comes together by adding how the challenges presented are impacting your city/region plus the market conditions and choosing the right vertical farming solution.

Taking lettuce as an example because is one of the most common crops grown in vertical farms, we can have a general market insight regarding produce prices by country, this will help match the challenges your region faces with the potential market opportunity, the highest those challenges are, and the highest the price of lettuce is, the highest the potential the project can have. The following is a quick overview, and the same exercise can be made for other crops.

Prices of a piece of lettuce around the world
Lettuce price in USD per head

Countries highlighted in yellow, orange, and red have a big potential for container farming.

Info. taken from:

Challenges With Container Farming:

Germination in the Huvster container farm

It is also important to understand that not everything in vertical farming is perfect, and understanding the challenges that container farms have can give you realistic expectations and valuable information to prepare your project to overcome them.

Much of the following information is not always given by the vendors, so make sure you understand it and ensure that the tech supplier you end up working with understands it, makes it clear and that part of his proposal is to assist in overcoming them. *Be careful if your vendor does not go through this.

  • Initial Investment:

Normally indoor vertical farming can demand high initial CAPEX investments. Setting up a container farm can cost between $85,000 and $200,000, including the purchase of containers, equipment, and infrastructure. This investment includes expenses such as container modification, climate control systems, LED lighting, irrigation systems, and monitoring equipment. However, it’s important to note that the actual cost may vary depending on the scale, complexity, productivity, and quality of the container farm. It is also important to budget your initial OPEX because the farm can take an average of 2 months for its first harvest and some additional time to reach its full production capacity, it is always recommended to consider a learning curve in case is your first-time farming.

  • Energy Consumption:

Container farms have high energy requirements due to lighting and climate control systems, resulting in increased operational costs. On average, container farms consume approximately 169-250 kWh of electricity per day. This energy consumption is mainly attributed to LED lighting for plant growth, heating or cooling systems for maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels, and ventilation systems for proper air circulation.

Evaluating the use of solar panels or the use of renewable energy sources is recommended, it can help reduce electricity costs with a midterm benefit.

  • Technical Expertise:

Successful container farming requires knowledge of hydroponics, plant nutrition, climate control, and crop management. Container farmers need to be proficient in understanding and managing hydroponic systems, nutrient solutions, pH balancing, pest and disease control, and optimizing environmental conditions. Technical expertise is crucial for maximizing crop yields, ensuring plant health, and maintaining sustainable farming practices. Make sure to have a good grower on your team and a vendor that offers farmer support.

  • Logistics and Setup:

Many container farms are sold as a plug-and-play solution, this makes it easy to assemble them and reduces the direct farm cost. On the other hand, it is always important to consider two elements when buying a container farm, shipping /logistics and site preparation.

For shipping and logistics to bring the container farm to the installation site it is important to consider the following expenses: transportation, handling, insurance, customs, and import taxes in case you are working with an international vendor.

As for the site preparation, make sure to have the container farm’s requirements and have the site ready with its proper installation and the correct people to receive the container farm and launch it. This will make the difference on a proper setup, launch and will allow you to start your production faster, a proper installation will ease a proper operation.

Advantages of Using Container Farms:

Vertical Farming Hydroponic Butter Lettuce

Despite these challenges, container farming offers unique opportunities for efficient and sustainable agriculture. They can be overcome with careful planning, strategic investments, and expertise in container farming practices.

  • Lower CAPEX and Risk Mitigation: Container farms offer a great opportunity to start an indoor vertical farming project with lower capital expenditure (CAPEX) compared to other indoor vertical farming methods. This lower CAPEX enables aspiring farmers to enter the industry with reduced financial risks, as the investment is backed up by a liquid asset that can be leased, sold, or repurposed if needed.
  • Modular Growth and Scalability: Container farms provide a scalable business model that can grow in response to increasing demand. As the market demand for your fresh produce grows, you have the flexibility to expand your container farm operations by adding more containers or scaling up production within the existing infrastructure. This modular approach allows you to manage your growth effectively, optimize resource utilization, and adapt to the evolving needs of your customers.
  • Flexibility and Mobility:  Container farms only require 50m2/ 540ft2 of space to be installed, this allows to virtually build a high-yield farm at any place, to relocate it easily, and allows farmers to adapt to changing market demands or serve underserved areas. Container Farms can also be stacked to optimize the need for space.
  • Vertical Integration:  Container farm operation allows to grow from seed to harvest in the same space, other parts of the chain can be easily integrated into the operation such as packaging, processing, and distribution making a completely integrated farming business.  Also, the Integration of advanced technologies, such as data analytics and automation, improves crop monitoring, resource management, and overall operational efficiency.
  • Local Food Production:  Container farms empower communities to produce their fresh food, reducing reliance on external sources and promoting local food security. It allows the farmer to directly sell high-quality produce to the final consumer, taking away the intermediaries and increasing the margins on the produce.
  • Start Fast and Grow Safe: A container farm can be deployed on-site in 2 to 4 months, with basic site requirements. This helps to ease farm build-up and permits to start growing fast.
  • Grow in Remote Regions: Container farms are perfect for growing fresh crops in very challenging weather and remote regions, due to their solid structure they can resist extreme storms, their installation is very simple and they can even be installed “off the grid” by adding sustainable energy sources.

Innovation and Research: Container farming encourages experimentation and innovation, driving advancements in efficient farming practices and sustainable food production. Which also makes them perfect for universities and research centers.

Take a virtual visit to a container farm:

Access to the Huvster Container Farm:

Common Challenges When Looking For a Container Farm:

Student Learning about Vertical Farming

Shopping for a container farm can be quite different than going to a shopping mall or buying a car.

People normally face with:

  • Limited Supplier Options:

Finding reputable and reliable suppliers with proven track records in container farming can be challenging, but the market is expanding with new options emerging.

  • Quality and Durability:

Ensuring high-quality materials and durable construction is essential for long-term success. Proper evaluation and due diligence are crucial when selecting a reliable supplier.

The vendor must give the right level of confidence, demonstrate experience in the market, and have success stories that back them up. Most importantly the vendor should give the right level of advice on the project you are trying to build.

Consider the following as the key factors that will make the difference in any vertical farming project:

  • Technology Selection: Find the equipment within your budget that will give you the highest productivity at the lowest CPAEX. Be sure that is easy to operate and learn from its energy efficiency. Most importantly make sure the vendor gives real farming support.
  • Project Design: Building your business model and knowing your market is key to understanding the potential your project can have. In case you are looking to build a business, find the crops with the highest potential in your region (high market price and existing demand), you can find them by knowing what crops are scarce, expensive, and valued by the consumers. This can be done by visiting different supermarkets, farmer’s markets and asking some restaurants if possible.
  • Growing Efficiency:  Technology makes things simple but it doesn’t make all of the work, it is important to master the production process to increase performance. Choosing the right vendor can help you master production and give you recommendations to optimize your crops from day 1.

Common Challenges When Starting a Container Farming Business:

Chef learning how to use its Container Farm

Once you’ve found the potential of launching your vertical farming project, whether it is for business, research, increase client experience or education, and found the right vendor, it is time to make sure you are ready to start farming, understating the following will save you time and money:

  • Technical Knowledge, Training, and Farm Planning: Acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge in hydroponics, crop management, and climate control systems is vital for successful container farming.
  • Access to Financing:  Securing adequate funding for initial investment and operational costs can be a hurdle for aspiring container farmers.
  • Market Penetration and Distribution: Developing effective marketing strategies and establishing distribution channels for the produce can be challenging, especially for small-scale container farming businesses. Having a clear business plan before starting your production is key to success.

Unlocking Success With Verde Compacto:

Huvster Container Farm Showroom

Verde Compacto is an industry leader in vertical farming and container farms since 2016, providing valuable expertise directly and through its multiple partners around the world to help aspiring farmers succeed by focusing on the following points:

  • Early-Stage Advice for Potential Vertical Farmers: In Verde Compacto we are confident that a successful vertical farming project starts with good planning and validation, our experts guide and give the right tools to new and established farmers before they acquire any equipment so they can take an informed and well-studied decision.
  • Cost Reduction: Verde Compacto offers container farms at up to 35% lower costs compared to competitors, making them more affordable and accessible for aspiring farmers, increasing the business growth rate.
  • Yield Optimization: With Verde Compacto’s expertise, farmers can achieve up to a 15% increase in crop productivity through its featured farm design, advanced cultivation techniques, and precision nutrient delivery systems.
  • Leasing and Financing:  For the US and Canada, through its partnership with, Verde Compacto provides tailored leasing and financing options designed specifically for vertical farming businesses, offering low-interest rates and flexible arrangements.
  • Training and Support: Verde Compacto offers 2 training and support programs:

Before You Start – Specialized agronomic training program by Hort Americas:

  • 9 hours of online training to master the basic aspects of indoor hydroponics, such as lighting management, environmental management, “Plant Factory” plant physiognomy, and nutrition management.

• 3 hours of monitoring in the operation, 1 hour per month during the first 3 months.

Follow Up Program:

  • 1-year free remote support
  • On-site technical and agronomical training
  • Customized support programs, and access to educational resources to empower farmers with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in vertical farming. Growers start farming knowing the right recipes for their crops.

All the Huvster container farms include the training program and the follow-up program

  • Customized Designs:  By understanding each of our farmer’s expectations, Verde Compacto tailor’s container farms and builds on-site farms specially designed to meet each of the project’s needs from customizations to meet a budget to technical features to grow different varieties looking to increase the impact on each farm.
  • Logistics/Setup
  • Shipping support worldwide with service door-to-door.
  • Site requirements and adjustments support before shipping to ensure everything will be ready when the container arrives.
  • On-site set-up supervision.

Embrace The Future of Farming!

Closer look to The Future Of Farming

In conclusion, the world of container farming presents both challenges and opportunities for those looking to venture into this innovative field. The challenges faced by modern agriculture, highlight the need for alternative farming methods like vertical farming.

While container farming has its challenges, with careful planning and expertise, these challenges can be overcome. Container farming also offers unique advantages.

When looking for a container farm it is important to select an experienced and reliable supplier who can provide the right level of advice and support throughout the project. Factors such as technology selection, project design, and growing efficiency play a crucial role in the success of a vertical farming project.

Starting a container farming business also comes with its challenges, however, with the support of experts like Verde Compacto, aspiring farmers can achieve success.

Overall, container farming holds great potential for success in vertical farming, and with the right knowledge, expertise, and support, individuals can navigate the challenges and unlock the opportunities presented by this innovative industry.

Lets Grow Together!

Contact Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Complete the form to receive the brochure in your email and our team will contact you as soon as possible.

Complete the form to receive the brochure in your email and our team will contact you as soon as possible.

Completa el formulario para recibir el brochure en tu correo electrónico y nuestro equipo te contactará lo más pronto posible.

Completa el formulario para recibir el brochure en tu correo electrónico y nuestro equipo te contactará lo más pronto posible.