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November 19, 2015

Worcester State adds freight farm, fresh produce

Freight Farms Kale grows in a freight farm.

Worcester State University will be the first higher education campus in New England to make use of a freight farm with a 40-foot shipping container set to yield an acre’s worth of fresh produce for the campus’ dining hall.

Worcester State’s dining contractor Chartwells is expected to harvest between 500 and 630 heads of lettuce a week from the Freight Farms Leafy Green Machine that was installed this week, according to Worcester State. The first harvest will take place in January.

The greens are grown in soil-less peat moss in 256 stackable towers inside the container. The resulting harvest will provide fresh lettuce while reducing Worcester State’s environmental footprint as no fossil fuels are used to transport the lettuce, according to the school.

Worcester state will be the first higher education institution in New England to install the Leafy Green Machine. The initial Freight Farm prototype was located at Clark University, where the company founder Brad McNamara went to graduate school before creating the company in 2012.

Urban farming has been an ongoing initiative in Worcester, with multiple locations serving area farmer’s markets and institutions.

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