The co-founders of Vertical Harvest Hydroponics hope the heavily insulated 40-foot units, resembling trailer homes without windows, will help fill a commercial niche in a state where nearly all lettuce, kale and herbs are imported, sometimes... The self-contained units, outfitted with heating systems, shelves and electricity to support LED growing lights, Janes said, can produce 1,800 plants at a time in mineral-rich water, without soil -- the definition of hydroponics. The company has sold two units in Anchorage, with the newest models starting at $100,000, she said. But the units could face economic challenges in many rural communities with steep electric costs and small populations -- as well as shipping expenses that add several thousand dollars to the cost of imported container boxes. Danny Consenstein, head of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s farm service agency in Alaska, said he’s toured one of the trailers in Anchorage. He said he thinks they can be part of a rising trend toward locally produced foods in Alaska, a movement that includes greenhouses and crop tunnels that help extend traditional summer growing seasons. Rural residents in particular want less costly food and an alternative to diets that include too much junk food and soda pop, he said.