Two sisters grow hydroponics in Chicago

Nutrient-rich leafy greens, lettuces, and herbs are growing continuously at the Homestead Farm owned and operated by first-generation farmers. The development of the hydroponic farm by sisters Jacqueline Scala and Mary Kathryn Scala was partially triggered by the pandemic.

“I was working in the hospitality industry and was let go from my job, so I did a lot of research for my next move,” Mary Kathryn said. “One night I read an article about a manufacturer called Freight Farms that was placing farms all over the world to grow nutrient-dense food and I was smitten.”

At the same time, Jacqueline was working on a project for a charity that wanted to find a solution for extending the life of the community garden. As a result, the sisters began their Freight to Plate business.

“We were trying to figure out a solution for that one community, and then this larger idea came to mind that this is a solution for dense urban areas and for food-insecure areas,” Mary Kathryn said. “Let’s put something together to make it possible to integrate these farms into all communities.”

The sisters chose to locate the Homestead Farm in the Fulton Market neighborhood. “I drove around taking pictures of an empty parking lot and when I randomly drove past this spot, my heart grew two sizes,” Mary Kathryn said.

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