Transform your campus with a Leafy Green Machine!
Here at Freight Farms, we have worked with over a dozen campuses to integrate hydroponic produce into dining services, engage campus communities, create learning opportunities, and start conversations about innovation and sustainability. Read on as we explore all the ways a Leafy Green Machine™ can transform your campus culture and identity.
1. Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability
As college admissions resources like the Princeton Review give more attention to “green” campuses, a school’s commitment to sustainable initiatives is becoming increasingly important. Having a container farm on campus is one way to put your money where your mouth is: By investing in a Leafy Green Machine, your school can prove an undeniable commitment to sustainability.
How does our container farm promote sustainability? The LGM™ immediately shortens the food supply chain, cuts fuel emissions, and decreases the transportation costs of your campus’ food operation. The container’s insulated nature also eliminates the need for herbicides or pesticides, while the closed-loop hydroponic system uses 90% less water than conventional farming methods.
2. Modernize without expensive construction
With the discussion turning to sustainability and green design, many universities face a difficult situation: How do you upgrade without rebuilding? While green design often saves money in the long run, administrators are often hesitant about the upfront costs of construction on campus. The LGM is an easy way to modernize your campus and meet sustainability goals without breaking ground. Read more in our university zoning guide.
3. Attract a new generation of students
In 2018 Millennials (born 1981-1998) are finishing off their college careers and Generation Z-ers (born 1999-present) are just starting. More than the generations before them, these two groups care about making the world a better place. This influences their brand loyalty, purchase decisions, and job choices. College decisions are not immune: 64% of students said having information about a college's commitment to environmental issues would contribute to their application and/or attendance decisions.
4. Create transparency in your campus food system
Local hydroponic farming provides transparency into an otherwise obscure food system. Today, most food service providers source the majority of their fresh produce from huge farms in California, Central America, or South America. Our produce can travel thousands of miles, and consumers have little awareness of who is growing it. Having an on-campus container farm creates a transparent option for sourcing food and, by reducing the distance food travels, consumers can better understand the means of production. Integrating a container farm onto your campus will increase awareness and help students and faculty feel more involved with the food they eat in the dining halls.
5. Educate about the food supply chain
Once you have students and faculty engaged in your on-campus food production, you can begin teaching them about the current food system and the benefits of a short food supply chain. The Leafy Green Machine is a great educational platform as it engages and inspires the student body to value transparency and seek out information about their food’s origins. With the right knowledge, students can make educated decisions that support their activities as consumers in the broader food system.
Educational ideas that have worked for our university clients:
Farm tours for current students, prospective students, alumni, and/or faculty
Break-out sessions about the food system and different growth methods (industrial, organic, hydroponic, aeroponic).
Dining service sessions on cooking with fresh produce.
6. Promote health, wellness, and nutrition
Needless to say, encouraging the consumption of fresh vegetables is a great way to promote campus wellness. The Leafy Green Machine is able to elevate the salad bar to one of your campus' most unique features. Here are just three ways to get the student body excited about their greens:
Pique curiosity and promote healthy eating with exotic crops like tatsoi, mizuna, and radicchio. See all of the produce you can grow in our crop guide!
Place signage around the cafeteria to explain where and how your hydroponic produce is being grown.
Create learning opportunities around your crops with nutrition seminars to teach students how the LGM’s produce fits into a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
7. Be an advocate for innovative technology and inspire future leaders
With a Leafy Green Machine, current and prospective students will see your commitment to promoting and exploring new and disruptive technologies. Not only will the farm make students think critically about their food, but it can inspire them to pursue sustainable solutions in their own fields.
8. Serve the freshest food year-round
One of the primary benefits of container farming is its season-agnostic growing capabilities. By growing warm weather lettuces, leafy greens, and herbs on campus year-round, you can provide your students and faculty with the freshest food available. Not only do dining hall chefs love the produce that comes out of the Leafy Green Machine, but students appreciate a salad bar stocked with tasty and crunchy vegetables.
9. Get the whole campus involved!
The opportunities for engaging your campus community with your new container farm are endless! Tours, talks, cooking demonstrations, harvest parties, CSA programs, course integrations, and all-around delicious greens are a sure way to rally your community behind sustainability and wellness – one school even opened a restaurant to exclusively serve their hydroponic produce! Feel free to get in touch with the Freight Farms marketing team for more ideas on community engagement.
10. Provide students of many backgrounds with hands-on experience
The Leafy Green Machine is a great teaching tool. Students with various career and extra-curricular interests can find value in operating the container farm.
Agriculture and Biology
Students can learn about the process of growing with hydroponic technology and work to optimize yields and grow new crops through data analysis and experimentation.
Engineering and Industrial Design
Students can study the design and mechanics that make vertical, commercial-grade agriculture possible in such a small space.
The LGM's automation and remote control systems are real-world IoT applications, with constant data communication between the farmhand® app, the farm's onboard computer, and internal growing components.
Business and Marketing
Whether you are operating the LGM at a profit or not, business and marketing students can get real life experience creating business plans, marketing collateral, and financial analyses.
The LGM generates a lot of data, all of which is essential in optimizing farm production. Students can work with farm operators to analyze the data collected in the farmhand® app and suggest improvements.
The LGM is a great example of sustainability, and can act as a case study for sustainable design, agriculture, and business.
There are several other great reasons to bring a Leafy Green Machine to your campus this year! We can work with administrators, alumni, faculty, and students to figure out the best way to provide a university with fresh food from their very own Leafy Green Machine. Click here to learn more!
See how a Leafy Green Machine helped transform the University of Arkansas campus!
Love the idea of growing fresh food on campus, but aren’t sure you want to handle all the operations yourself?
Check out our new on-site farming service, Grown by Freight Farms!