US (CT): Greenwich schools grows too much lettuce, sells some to supermarket

The northern section of Greenwich has a long agricultural tradition, with abundant apple orchards, horse stables, and farming operations that continue to this day. Greenwich Country Day School is now expanding on that tradition.

The school, which already owns and operates French Farm at 516 Lake Ave., has been cultivating lettuce and herbs in a hydroponic gardening operation inside a trailer at its campus on Stanwich Road. The school administration is currently seeking permission to sell the produce locally, which requires a special permit.

The school acquired a so-called "Grow Trailer" last year after receiving the necessary approvals, according to the attorney representing the school, Bruce Cohen. Students have been using the hydroponic growing technique in the 8-by-40-foot trailer, growing plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. Energy-efficient lighting and vertical rows of plantings have yielded a harvest of lettuce and herbs from the truck container. The operation began this year.

Most of the greens have been used in the school's cafeterias — but not all. "The amount of lettuce and herbs that the trailer yields is more than what the school can consume, creating a surplus," Cohen noted in the application narrative submitted to the town planning department. The school did not want the excess lettuce to go to waste, Cohen continued, and an arrangement was worked out with Mike's Organic in Cos Cob to sell the excess produce harvested at the school.


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