Crops grown in traditional outdoor farming depend on supportive weather and suffer from undesirable temperatures rain, monsoon, hailstorm, tornado, flooding, wildfires, and drought. “Three recent floods (in 1993, 2007 and 2008) cost the United States billions of dollars in lost crops, with even more devastating losses in topsoil. Changes in rain patterns and temperature could diminish India’s agricultural output by 30 percent by the end of the century.”
The issue of adverse weather conditions is especially relevant for arctic and sub-arctic areas like Alaska and northern Canada where traditional farming is largely impossible. Food insecurity has been a long-standing problem in remote northern communities where fresh produce has to be shipped large distances resulting in high costs and poor nutrition. Container-based farms can provide fresh produce year-round at a lower cost than shipping in supplies from more southerly locations with a number of farms operating in locations such as Churchill, Manitoba, and Unalaska, Alaska. As with disruption to crop growing, local container-based farms are also less susceptible to disruption than the long supply chains necessary to deliver traditionally grown produce to remote communities. Food prices in Churchill spiked substantially after floods in May and June 2017 forced the closure of the rail line that forms the only permanent overland connection between Churchill and the rest of Canada.