Want fresh, local food year round?

Grown by Freight Farms is here to help.

On February 26th, we hosted a short webinar on this exact topic! In case you missed it, you can watch the entire thing here:

However, since we know you’re very busy (aren’t we all?) we’re also summarizing everything we discussed in the blog post below.

If you came to this blog post, it’s likely because the title caught your eye. Maybe you work for a restaurant that’s trying to break into the farm-to-table scene, or maybe you’re on the People & Culture team at work and are exploring how you can bring fellow employees the hottest new work perk. Regardless of where you’re coming from, Grown by Freight Farms can help you make all your local food dreams come true.


What is Grown by Freight Farms?

Grown by Freight Farms is an onsite farming service: We bring you a farm, hire, train, and manage a dedicated farmer, and then you get all the food at the end of the day. The overall goal is to make it easy larger organizations to grow food locally.

The idea behind our farming service

The Grown by Freight Farms service was developed after we saw a repeating pain point for our institutional customers that were managing their own farms.

The pain point came from the client having to find an operator within their organization. They found that turnover in the farming role was common (ex. students graduating) and would affect the farms productivity as a new farmer got ramped up. For some potential customers, this pain point was so big, it prevented them from pursuing the opportunity in-spite of lots of interest in having the farm and food on-site.

Anyone who wants access to local food year-round can benefit from Grown.
— Alex Locke, Grown Program Specialist at Freight Farms

How can my organization benefit?

Grown by Freight Farms addresses a lot of needs:

Schools can use Grown by Freight Farms to improve the campus experience by having fresh food production on site available to students, staff, and faculty.

Corporations can implement the service as a cool employee work perk that helps the organization build out appealing health and wellness offerings.

Real estate developers can add Grown by Freight Farms to their plans to give residents a unique lifestyle amenity, and pivot an entire neighborhood to be more eco-friendly.

Restaurants can leverage Grown by Freight Farms to make farm-to-table operations attainable, thanks to consistent pricing and quality year-round.

[At Freight Farms] we all get the benefit of getting fresh greens in our fridge 24/7...just last year we won of Boston’s Coolest Companies specifically for that work perk.
— Caroline Katsiroubas, Director of Marketing at Freight Farms

Grown Basics: Farm, Farmer, Food

The Grown by Freight Farms program combines innovative vertical farming with a designated farming professional to give the client consistently high quality produce.

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The Farm

The Freight Farms Greenery leverages a controlled agriculture environment, hydroponics, and indoor LED lights to make everyday inside the farm a perfect summer day. This lets us optimize food production to give clients higher yields with quicker timelines–and better quality–than traditional sourcing channels.

Because of the closed-loop hydroponics system, the Greenery uses 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture, making it a very sustainable farming option.

You may be asking, why do we focus so much on leafy greens?

Leafy greens give us the best system economics: we’re using 100 percent of the energy to make food that can be consumed in its entirety. Compare that to tomatoes, where energy goes into growing vines and leaves that can’t be eaten, and you see that you lose out on the efficiencies. Additionally, leafy greens are difficult to keep fresh during transport and are very seasonal. Plus they’re popular! All this combined, we feel leafy greens are the best use of the system.

Leafy greens historically don’t travel or keep the best. So when we’re able to offer those locally, we’re fulfilling a huge need.
— Alex Locke

Farmer

Here’s where we’re addressing the original pain point directly by providing each Grown account with a dedicated farmer. We’re taking years of training and farming knowledge and imparting that to a farming professional.

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This means the client no longer has to find, train, and manage a farmer within their own organization, which helps remove roadblocks to starting the project and make sure that there’s always continuous production.

The farmer will take care of all the farming, harvesting, packaging, distribution, cleaning, and maintenance. Freight Farms will also provide clients with a program manager to take on administrative tasks.

As far as the big picture, Grown by Freight Farms is helping to create new farmers:

We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. If we want to get there, we’re going to need a lot more farmers, so let’s empower more people to become farmers.
— Alex Locke

The Food

For most people, the food is the real value of the Grown by Freight Farms program. That is because when it comes to eating food that is unadulterated and environmentally sustainable, many consumers consider local is new organic. The great thing about Grown is that it provides all the benefits of local and so much more:

  • Year-round production thanks to the Greenery’s indoor growing technology

  • Total customization, so you choose to grow only the crops you need

  • Access to interesting crops that typically aren’t grown for mass-market consumption

  • Full transparency–you know your farmer, where food is coming from, and that its the cleanest possible produce (no herbicides, pesticides, or waxes!). After multiple e. Coli outbreaks last year, this is also important for communicating food safety to maintain trust with consumers.

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Another great thing about the greens? They actually last.

By cutting travel time down to zero, we’re delivering greens at peak freshness. In fact, we harvest certain crops with their root ball still intact, meaning they’re being delivered as still-living plants. As a result, the greens can last 2-3 weeks in the fridge, so you waste less food and money.


Bulk delivery vs. CSA…which is best?

So–you have the farm, you have the farmer, you have the food. Now you need to decide how you want the greens delivered. We created two distribution models: Grown to Supply and Grown to Share.

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Grown to Supply

Grown to Supply is a procurement option that integrates the produce directly into your existing supply chain. You’re able to get what you want, when you want it thanks to a custom growing schedule that you set up with the farmer. As a result, you can choose from 500 varieties of plant and integrate them directly into your cafeteria, dining hall, or restaurant.

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It’s easy to add Grown to your supply chain. 

If the farm is on-site, it’s as simple as coordinating harvest and delivery with an existing schedule. We can also locate the farm remotely with your last-mile distributor so the produce gets delivered along with other goods. This model has successfully worked for us and our restaurant clients in the past.

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Grown to Share

Grown to Share takes the greens and transforms them into an awesome amenity. We take the same farm-farmer-food model and instead of a bulk delivery, we create a CSA program (basically a farm subscription service). Each Greenery can yield 100 shares for 100 ‘subscribers’. They get a weekly, individual share of farm-fresh greens delivered right to them–at school, at the office, at home–that they can enjoy throughout the week.

In the case of a Grown to Share program, Freight Farms would also facilitate sign up, communications, packaging, and delivery based on the client’s needs.

Here’s how the shares work:

We start with a rotation of our three standard mixes: Salad Mix, Spicy Asian Mix, Rainbow Mix. Each offer a unique combination of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs, roots, flowers that can be used in everyday cooking. From there, we collect feedback and start adding or eliminating crops based on their popularity.

We’re able to offer students, employees, residents a product that doesn’t really exist anywhere else so they can eat fresh greens and eat a nutritious, healthy lifestyle, year-round.
— Alex Locke

Want to learn more about Grown?

We can send you personalized program information to meet your unique needs.

 

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