The ‘Hippotainer’ is a sea container where crops grow above each other in an extremely efficient manner, also known as vertical farming. It is an innovative pilot project that, after planning, drawing, realization and testing, is now rolled out further in Ukraine with the support of Worldpartners. An interview with initiator Jort Maarseveen.
Before the war started, we had contact with a partner in Ukraine. They run a rehabilitation centre in combination with a small farm. Former addicts can work at the farm. Because they wanted to expand, they asked us to help come up with a businessmodel. It should create more work opportunities for the rehabilitants so they could integrate better into society.
Brainstorm sessions led to the idea of vertical farming. It is not wide spread, but it is an effective way to produce food. To make this concept attainable we decided to build it in a 40 feet sea container.
During the war, we continued devellopping the concept. Joël van Schoonhoven was looking for a graduation assignment for his studies at the technical university in Enschede. He further elaborated the plan and designed the container. Technical and practical drawings were realized.
“An additional effect was our harvest of hundreds of heads of lettuce, that we donated to the food bank”
After this, a prototype was made and the construction was testet in Bennekom, improved and a guide was written. An additional effect was our harvest of hundreds of heads of lettuce, that we dondated to the food bank. This hippotainer type is limited for ceraint varieties, mostly lettuce and herbs. Our vision is that the system will pay itself back in three years with the product sales and that the concept is applicable and accesable in other countries and environments. Our first Hippotainer just arrived in Ukraine, in the city Ivano-Frankivsk at our project partner TCI. It will function as a business as mission re-integration project for refugees. It will create employment opportunities and our partner offers pastoral care and trauma therapy.
The hippotainer is a ‘business in a box’. This means that is a complete businessmodel. In Marocco we recently presented ourselves at a argicultural conference. There was a lot of interest in our concept, because water is more and more scarce and there no easy solutions yet. Because the hippotainer uses upto 90% less water then convetional farming, and is suitable for production yearround, it is super relevant in this context. It is motivating to create this with a young team and have this chance to contribute to people around the world.
For more information visit: www.hippotainer.com