The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire) has recently unveiled a new hydroponic garden system. The “micro-farms” seek to increase sustainable food sourcing and provide students with access to fresh produce on campus.

The two hydroponic micro-farms are enclosed vertical growing towers that reach seven feet high. According to a statement, one unit can produce as much as 2,000 square feet of outdoor farmland. Additionally, each unit can save 7.13 pounds of fertilizer, 97.5 pounds of food waste, and 13,128 gallons of water each year. 

The farms were purchased from a Pennsylvania company called Babylon Micro-Farms and are installed on the ground level of Davies Center at UW-Eau Claire. The first harvest is expected in two weeks for the microgreens and six weeks for the larger plants.

“There were many options to go with, and we chose Babylon for the in-house monitoring and support that comes with their units,” said Lily Strehlow, campus sustainability specialist in the risk management, safety, and sustainability department, in a statement, “These towers have cameras on each tier connected to a mobile application, allowing Babylon to observe the plants as they grow and advise us as needed on care and maintenance. That frees up our time to work on other sustainability projects.”

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