Crops News

Partnership bringing vertical farming opportunity to U.S. colleges


Many colleges and universities are getting access to some of the most advanced hydroponic vertical farming technology around, thanks to a partnership between vertical-farming innovator Freight Farms and food/facilities management company Sodexo. The collaboration will usher in the implementation of Freight Farms’ 320-square-foot Greenery containers on campuses, enabling the onsite growth of fresh, traceable produce year-round.

The hope is that having food that would travel zero food miles will help reduce these schools’ environmental impacts. In a news release, the companies said the benefits include:

Food miles and waste reduction

  • Food is harvested steps from the plate, eliminating food miles
  • Harvested onsite, food lasts significantly longer, reducing spoilage waste
  • The Greenery uses 99.8 percent less water than traditional agriculture, and in some humid areas, operations can be water-positive

Peak freshness and nutrition, year-round

  • Unlike food that has to travel great distances between harvest and plate, freshness and nutrient density does not degrade during transit
  • Pesticides won’t be used
  • The farms grow at commercial scale and maintain the perfect environmental conditions every day of the year

Safety, transparency, and data-driven traceability

  • The hydroponic container farms are soil-free and are decentralized from the mass supply chain
  • Campus communities can get to know their own farmers and witness every growing stage of their food
  • Proprietary IoT technology, farmhand, tracks produce from seed to plate, even down to the hour

Student and employee engagement

  • Schools can choose to integrate their farms into interactive curricula across disciplines like science and technology, agriculture, nutrition, business, and social impact
  • Corporate businesses can integrate their onsite farms into employee wellness and benefit programs

Freight Farms’ customers are located in 25 countries and 44 U.S. states, and range from small business farmers to corporate, hospitality, retail, education, and nonprofit sectors. To date, 35 educational and corporate campuses use Freight Farms’ technology, and together with Sodexo, implementation will rapidly expand across the U.S.

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