Shipping containers can be used in so many different ways. Around the world people are using them as storage sheds, converting them into homes, and now even using them as hydroponic grow rooms for herbs & vegetables. Check out this article we found about Naples, Florida's Ritz-Carlton Hotel and how they're sourcing their very own vegetables.   

NAPLES, FLORIDA—The air outside may be a balmy 95 degrees but the temperature inside The Grow House (a.k.a. CropBox) at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples is an ideal 65 to 72 degrees—perfect for growing lettuce and other micro-greens. Since July, Executive Chef George Fistrovich has been growing the equivalent of an acre of vegetables in a repurposed shipping container that sits in the parking lot of the hotel. Measuring 40 feet by 8 feet in size, the container is equipped with everything one needs to grow crops—lights, planting racks, HVAC system, all of the necessary hydroponic components, and a system of sensors to monitor just about every environmental condition.

On the day Green Lodging News interviewed Fistrovich, he expected to be harvesting 1,400 heads of lettuce in the following five or six days. He and his colleagues were on their third lettuce growing cycle. “Our lettuces take 28 to 34 days to grow,” Fistrovich says. “You can watch lettuce grow overnight.” Cilantro, arugula, spinach, cabbage and other plants are also grown in the container. Cabbage takes 66 days to mature. What is grown can be enjoyed throughout the resort’s restaurants including the Italian-inspired Terrazza.

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples leases the container from Williamson Greenhouses, Clinton, N.C. Fistrovich says a colleague in Washington, D.C. told him about the CropBox and after a series of phone calls with Williamson Greenhouses the container was shipped. Everything is started from seed. Seeds are given time to germinate and then are cared for until time for harvesting. Fistrovich says he will be able to grow 365 days a year. “We use zero pesticides,” he says.