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Start-up furthers the cause of urban farming from a shipping container

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Start-up furthers the cause of urban farming from a shipping container.{ } (Christina Anthony WWMT)

A farm on wheels is growing crops from a Grand Rapids parking lot.

Meteorologist Christina Anthony reports on a start-up company furthering the cause of urban farming.

When white-collar technology meets blue-collar labor it gives birth to the very interesting Green Collar Farms, where plants can grow without the help of soil or natural sunlight, and where size truly doesn't matter.

Brian Harris, Former President and CEO of H&H Metal Source, spent twenty years employing science against the elements of steel.

Now, he's using his scientific background to harvest crops for his new company, Green Collar Farms, all from the inside of a shipping container.

Harris said, "It's 350 square foot inside, but because we're growing hydroponically without soil in a vertical form factor, we're able to yield about an acre in a half to two acres of crop every seven weeks, 365 days a year."

By growing crops in a controlled environment, Harris can weed Mother Nature out of the equation.

He can adjust the temperature, humidity, lights, and carbon dioxide levels manually from within the container, or with an application on his iPhone.

Harris can even feed crops nutrients through a computer system wired to vertically stacked columns of greens.

He said, "The food all comes to them. Their root ball is about 10 percent the size of a normal root ball. So they taste really, really good."

Green Collar crops, like lettuce, kale, and arugula, are harvested alive with the tiny root attached, and distributed within 24 hours. No matter the season, which means the leafy greens have a longer shelf life than those trans-plants.

Harris said, "This container farm is simply the first expression of what indoor agriculture can be."

Harris's mission for Green Collar Farms runs deeper than his scientific roots.

He said, “Once we get down the road another twelve months or so, we will have an idea about how to bring in the whole 10,000 square foot facility in the urban core that provides stem education opportunities, employment, health, and wellness benefits, jobs. So that's the journey."

Harris hopes his container farm will grow on Grand Rapids, and kids interested in science.

If you want to learn more about his blossoming business head to http://www.greencollarfoods.com/