Portable Food Factories

Can the word “factory” ever be used in a food-related context in a way that doesn’t sound like a criticism?

Can an chemical company ever produce something that could be welcomed by fans of local, organic agriculture?

How about a portable, hydroponic farm-in-a-box, made by Mistubishi Chemical? It holds the potential to provide hyper-local, highly-efficient agriculture even in areas utterly devoid of arable land. But did I mention that it’s made by a chemical company?

Here’s the story, by Kasey Coholan, for Canadian Business magazine: Portable vegetable factories

For all the vitriol directed against “factory farming,” you would be hard pressed to find an argument against Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.’s latest concept — the portable vegetable factory. Resembling a shipping container from the outside, measuring 12.2 by 2.4 by 2.9 metres, each insulated unit can grow up to 2,000 leafy vegetables at a time with the capability of harvesting 50 plants each day. What’s more is that all of this is done without soil and — because of the tightly controlled environment — without the use of pesticides….

For now, the $75,000 price tag is likely to restrict this item to niche markets. But it’s an intriguing idea, and one that may bring into conflict certain food-related values that are typically thought to go hand-in-hand.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
This entry was posted in agriculture, ecosystems, factory farms, industrial, labour, organic, values. Bookmark the permalink.