US (NY): Credit union donates container ‘freight’ farm to Latham food bank

Broadview Federal Credit Union has donated a freight container-based farming system to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

The new “freight” farm will grow up to 900 lettuce and other leafy vegetable heads per week. The farm, housed in a repurposed freight container, will help the food bank expand its inventory for a program delivering food to parts of its 23-county service area that lack pantries or grocery stores and another supplying produce and dairy to pantries before distribution to agencies with limited storage. Fresh produce is in high demand among the food bank’s partners, making up 20 percent of the network’s annual distribution, according to a statement by the food bank.

The freight farm employs hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil and delivering nutrients through a water solution. Nick Pisani, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s chief operating officer, said using an insulated, weather-independent facility enables year-round food growth. A significant portion of the food at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s distribution center supports pantries, soup kitchens, and backpack programs that feed food-insecure children on weekends and during school breaks.

“It’s more nutritious food available in our network that we’re supporting,” Pisani said of the freight farm. “It’s also fresh, and it’s not something that’s sat on a retail shelf.”

Regional Food Bank CEO Tom Nardacci said his nonprofit sources a large share of its 15 million pounds of annual produce from New York farmers and cultivates about 100,000 pounds on its Voorheesville farm.


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