US (AL): Homewood Farmer’s Market to help food-insecure areas

A new initiative called “Grow it Good” will help food-insecure families in Alabama, courtesy of the West Homewood Farmer’s Market.

The group is working with Freight Farms and using their equipment to take up hydroponic farming, said market manager Kenyon Ross. The group will grow vegetables and more on the interior walls of shipping containers in a process called vertical farming. The containers can produce 250 heads of lettuce per week and 500 different varieties of greens and herbs.

The farmer’s market wants to purchase five of the farms every three years and place them in food-insecure areas. That will eventually be accompanied by hiring someone to run the farm, training them, and giving them co-ownership. The market will sell 100% of what they grow to a distributor who “cares about getting it to insecure people,” Ross said.

The training software and supplies cost about $200,000 for each farm, Ross said, though they will get a discount for buying so many. “We can pretty much grow any kind of lettuce you can imagine,” he said. The group has also applied for a USDA grant, Ross said.

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