Fresh, ripe fruits with no pesticides, available in crowded cities. This was the dream of several French people who wanted to build a small berry farm made of transport containers.
The idea of the project is laudable. In the city center, everybody should have access to fresh, tasty and natural fruits. Gonzague Gru and Guillame Fourdinier, the sons of French farmers, decided to achieve it by creating fruit micro-farms from old and unused transport containers – the so called Cooltainers. They could be placed everywhere – on parking areas, next to office buildings or within the crowded residential complexes, so that everybody could have easy access to natural fruits growing in the center of lively metropolis. Young entrepreneurs started from strawberries. They want to grow 91 tons of those fruits in 75 containers located in Paris. If the project becomes successful, cooltainers will appear in other cities. Probably, it would be possible to grow other types of berries.
Nature most of all
This brings a question to mind – do strawberries or other berries grown in containers keep their natural properties? Creators of cooltainers assure that they do. They will not use any pesticides in their micro-farms, and the assembled installations will ensure perfect conditions for irrigation, light and carbon dioxide presence. Micro-farms are even about to be equipped with air filtering system for avoidance of plant contamination. What is more, the container cultivation is supposed to be 100 times more efficient than standard cultivation on the same area, and with a much lower use of water. The use of container farms is estimated to be extremely easy and, as entrepreneurs assure, they will not cause any problems to others.
Pros and cons
As it often happens, also in this case, criticism is heard. First negative reactions concern the price of cooltainers use. According to sceptics, pesticide-free fruits will be much more expensive and therefore demand will be low. Besides, not all species can be adapted to be cultivated in containers. However, if the project of natural fruits cultivation in cities becomes successful even partially, it will have positive impact on promotion of berries in Europe. It will also increase their consumption. Investors see the potential of this project and they already allocated 4 million EUR for it.