Q&A Recap with Clark and Sodexo

In part two of this blog series, we’re breaking down the Question and Answer section of our webinar with Clark University and Sodexo. If you haven't gotten a chance to view the webinar recording, you can always breeze through our recap blog post here, or watch the full webinar here!

During the Question and Answer portion of the webinar, we got quite a few questions geared directly towards operations, logistics, and student reactions. Below find the top 8 questions we received:


Questions for Clark University and Sodexo

Q: How long has been Sodexo been managing food service at Clark, and how long have you had the LGM on campus? 

Sodexo has been managing food service at Clark University since 2007, so it's been ten years. We implemented the LGM project on campus in early 2016.

Q: How have students responded to the produce coming out of the LGM and how many does it feed?

The response has been terrific, and it's always the first kind of lettuce we run out of at the salad bar. It also goes quickly at our retail operation where we have it as a grab and go option. Students are given a choice between mesclun mix and Freight Farms lettuce, and 90% of the time they choose the Freight Farms lettuce as the base of their salad. We feed around 1,000 people at lunch and 1,000 people at dinner, and I would estimate that the salad bar is visited by several hundred students per day. 

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Q: How did you determine a budget for the project?

When trying to figure out the numbers, we needed to know the yield we could expect. Freight Farms did an excellent job of providing us with low estimates, so once Nick got the hang of it and was growing at full capacity, we started exceeding all of our projections. You get out of it what you put into it, for us, the Leafy Green Machine™ has been a financially viable investment. 

Q: How do you keep the farm food safe? Do you have any cleanliness tips?

We keep food service standards in the farm. That means we clean all the crop columns regularly as well as regularly wipe down the tables. We also made sure that the water had the correct microbial makeup before we even brought the farm on campus. Essentially we treat our operations inside the farm as we would in a commercial kitchen. 

Questions for Freight Farms

Q: From purchase to delivery, how long would it take to get a Leafy Green Machine™ on campus?

Once you've got your stakeholders on board and LGM™ site approved by our team, it takes us six to eight weeks to get your Leafy Green Machine™ delivered to your site. 

Q: Is there any kind of training program for new farmers?

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Every new Freight Farms project sends their operators through our two-day Farm Camp at our HQ in Boston. Farm camp consists of in-farm learning with our staff where they talk you through every aspect of running a farm from crop scheduling, to food safety, to marketing and learning how to talk about the farm. 

Q: How would the farm involve work study programs and entrepreneurship programs?

Some food service groups employ students, while other university departments have relevant internship programs. As for entrepreneurship programs, the farm could be the template that students use to build a food business. Finally, the farm could also factor into biology, agriculture, or even data analysis coursework.

Q: What are the major variables that affect crop production times? 

Just as in traditional farming, in our system each crop has different needs when it comes to growing conditions. We adjust the temperature and other climate settings to ensure that each crop has the most favorable conditions for plant cultivation. If you want to learn more about how our team recommends scheduling your crops to have a consistent harvest each week, you can read our blog post all about crop rotation and scheduling

 

We hope you found this Q&A recap helpful! Stay tuned, as we'll be hosting more webinars to guide future farmers through the growing process, and if you have any ideas for future webinars, let us know!



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