Outside of BGCCA’s Troy Clubhouse sits a 40' x 8' x 9' 6” rectangular freight shipping container. Without the Freight Farm logo printed on the container, nobody would suspect that the inside is lined with sprouts maintained by a series of hydroponic equipment (which allows plants to grow without soil). The Club kids don’t know it yet, but soon we will harvest full heads of lettuce weekly, which they will find in their meals from the Food Service Program and at local restaurants in the Capital Area.
Thanks to SEFCU, BGCCA now has a fully-functional Freight Farm: a commercial grade, hydroponic farm built inside of a forty-foot shipping container with environmental controls and indoor growing technology. Freight Farms can generate the same amount of produce as a two-acre farm annually, producing 700 heads of butterhead lettuce each week! With more lettuce than our Food Service Program could ever use, the excess produce will be sold to local restaurants to generate revenue for Club programming.
BGCCA hired Patricia Doyle as our Freight Farm Coordinator. Patricia’s job includes everything involved in “running the Freight Farm. I maintain the mechanics and flow meters, calibrate the sensors, all the things that make the produce grow. Once we harvest the produce, I’ll transport it to the Food Service Program’s kitchen and market the surplus to local businesses.”
While providing food for our youth and local businesses, Patricia hopes to see the Farm “become a model for other organizations who want to create a sustainable food source.” Food insecurity continues to be a growing problem within Capital Area communities, so we need to get smarter and more efficient about how we grow our food. “And if this Farm is successful, I would like to see the Club get more farms so we can generate more produce.” Considering that SEFCU’s personal Freight Farm has been successful for a few years now, Patricia has high hopes for ours.
Patricia has worked in environmental education for most of her adult life, so she will also work with Club youth in the Farm: “I’ve started running programs with the younger kids involving gardening and nutrition, and I’m going to train teenagers in our Workforce Program how to manage the Farm.” She says she likes working at the Club because “BGCCA feels like a home for youth and staff alike. I’ve always worked in nonprofit and educational settings, and I like that the Club is both of those things, and it’s more flexible than school.”
If you have any questions about the Freight Farm, email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.