“Are you going to have a person stationed there so no one starts digging at the lettuce or getting into the herbs?” Sister Jane Stephen Rosko asks playfully as Elliott Hilton, Director of Dining Services for Cura Hospitality, concludes his presentation. “Well, there are doors on the farm, so I think it’ll be safe,” he says with a smile, excited to share all the details about the new Babylon Galleri Micro-Farm coming to the Motherhouse.

The glowing, six-by-seven foot vertical farm equipped with nutrient-rich seed pods from which lettuce and herbs will grow rests in its new home inside the dining room mere feet from where Cura staff prepares meals for Sisters, staff, and Motherhouse guests each day. This is important, Elliott emphasizes, “because, with conventional farming, the average distance that produce travels from farm to table is 1,500 miles, and about 40% of that produce ends up being thrown away before it even reaches the consumer.”

Cura Hospitality, which provides in-house nutrition services to the Congregation, shares the Sisters’ commitment to sustainability and is always searching for ways to reduce waste, conserve energy, and lighten their carbon footprint. By eliminating the need for transportation of highly perishable vegetables and growing them more efficiently with the help of hi-tech monitoring, Elliott estimates that the Babylon Micro-Farm will eliminate 97.5 pounds of food waste, save 13,128 gallons of water and prevent 676 pounds of single-use plastic from being discarded each year.

Read more at stjoseph-baden.org