The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South has a new hydroponic “Freight Farm” outside its Brockton Clubhouse.
On Jan. 6, 2022, the organization officially opened its Freight Farms Greenery hydroponic farm, which is inside a shipping container. Produce grown in the farm will be used to support the club’s Kids Café healthy meals program.
The Freight Farm was purchased with funds from a $115,000 grant awarded by Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Community Benefits Committee in 2021.
Monica Lombardo, vice president and chief advancement officer for the clubs, explained that freight farms are used as an educational opportunity for children in addition to being a practical source of food.
“It’s a really exciting, immersive and engaging educational opportunity for the kids,” said Lombardo. “It models for them in a tangible way people being creative and applying technology that already existed to solve a problem in an affordable way. We have developed a curriculum to go along with this so the kids can understand the growing process.”
The Freight Farm Greenery S is able to grow 13,000 plants at one time, ensuring a constant supply of produce for the clubs. The system doesn’t use soil and instead delivers essential nutrients to the plants through water and light energy. It’s also water-efficient and only uses 5 gallons of water each day.
“We want to make sure there’s as little food waste as possible with the things that we’re growing,” said Lombardo. “It’s important for us to get this healthy organic produce out for free to families, because when money is tight that’s the first thing you can’t get.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South assist children in the Brockton and Taunton communities in achieving academic success and a healthy lifestyle. The clubs serve more than 2,000 children ages 4-18 each year. Many members struggle with food insecurity, so one of the clubs’ primary responsibilities is to provide nutritious meals to every hungry member.
The new Freight Farms Greenery in Brockton will allow the club to grow fresh produce for its members. The organization already grows fresh produce in a Freight Farm at its Camp Riverside property in Taunton.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South will soon be officially announcing plans to construct a second clubhouse in the Brockton area to double the capacity and the number of children the clubs are able to serve.
“We have undergone a tremendous amount of growth and evolution over the past couple years,” said Lombardo, “and we’re focused on expanding and increasing the number of kid’s we’re serving.”
Rose Pecci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.