US (WA): Sodexo celebrates first anniversary of Gonzaga greenhouse

Sodexo recognized its dining sustainability team at Gonzaga University for celebrating the one-year anniversary of the John J. Hemmingson Center Gonzaga Greenhouse. The team worked to successfully increase crop yields using a greenhouse design that recycles and consumes one-tenth the water of traditional farming.

This 1,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse facility harvests a variety of produce and herbs that are planted in close proximity to allow for large production. When it launched, the greenhouse was expected to grow 150 heads of lettuce, but during the past year Sodexo staff optimized and expanded it to grow even more. The facility now yields 120 heads of lettuce, 30 pounds of tomatoes, and a small harvest of peppers and herbs every week. In addition, the team recently added an outdoor garden to the greenhouse balcony.

"Our recycling system design allows for exact measuring of nutrients, temperature and humidity," says Sodexo's Daniel Caris, who is the sustainability coordinator for Zag Dining. "A perfect balance of these conditions decreases growth time by 10% and contributes to an increased yield of produce in a pest free environment."

The dining sustainability team at Gonzaga University has a multi-faceted program for greenhouse education, providing hands-on experience for student employees and volunteers. The program also offers greenhouse tours to elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as the community.

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