Freight Farm Lettuce Used in Campus Dining Halls on Friday

Freight Farm Lettuce Used in Campus Dining Halls on Friday

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Freight Farm Lettuce Used in Campus Dining Halls on Friday

Sep. 28, 2016

On Friday, Sept. 30, the first harvest of over 1,000 head of lettuce from the on-campus Freight Farm will be used in dining halls across campus.

The lettuce will be distributed to Fulbright, Pomfret, and Brough dining halls, as well as the Arkansas Union, and will show up everywhere from salad bars to burgers.

The lettuce has been growing since Aug. 11, in an insulated, "farm in a box" container.

The 40' x 8' x 9.5' container, produced by Freight Farms, is a fully functioning hydroponic farm built inside of an up-cycled shipping container.

Inside the container, LED light strips provide crops with spectrums of red and blue – the light spectrums required for photosynthesis. A hydroponic system delivers a nutrient rich water solution directly to roots, using only 10 gallons of water a day. Energy-efficient equipment automatically regulates temperature and humidity through a series of sensors and controls.

After the first harvest, the farm should consistently produce crops of up to 500 heads of lettuce.

Before bringing the Freight Farm to campus, Chartwells Dining Services, part of the Division of Student Affairs, was looking to find a sustainable solution. The project has the potential to shorten the food supply chain, cut transportation emissions, decrease transportation costs, and overall all, significantly reduce the campus carbon footprint.

Ashley Meek, Chartwells' licensed, registered dietitian and farm manager, said the freight farming project is one way of addressing campus sustainability while giving students a way to pursue their academic interest outside of the classroom. Meek has two student interns who help her manage the farm – Taylor Pruitt and Merissa Jennings – who are both interested in the future of agriculture and food sciences.

"We hope the Freight Farm supplies sustainable culinary operations to campus, and also gives those students working with the Freight Farm a place to get their hands dirty in the science behind hydroponic farming," Meek said.

Any overages from the crops are slated for donation to the Razorback Food Recovery, enabling the campus to use every bit of each harvest.

1 University of Arkansas 

Fayetteville, AR 72701 

479-575-2000

 

Local Food Is Great, But Can The Concept Be Taken Too Far?

Local Food Is Great, But Can The Concept Be Taken Too Far?

The US Start-Up Helping Indoor Farming Become A Growth Industry

The US Start-Up Helping Indoor Farming Become A Growth Industry