US (PA): Hydroponic farm provides hunger relief

First Light Project announced the opening of their pilot for a hydroponic vertical farm located at the W. Berks Street warehouse location of the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, Philabundance.

The pilot farm, which is now in production, is growing leafy greens, herbs and microgreens. These greens are grown using hydroponic technology in a 5-tier vertical racking system that supplies nutrient-rich water to the plants roots. High efficiency LED lights mimic optimal sunlight conditions up to 18 hours a day.

The 312 sq.ft. Pilot Farm is the precursor for First Light Project’s full-scale indoor hydroponic farm. The pilot farm is growing:

  • 9 varieties of lettuce
  • 2 varieties of Arugula
  • Varieties of Mustard Greens, Asian Greens, Kale and Swiss Chard
  • Genovese Basil
  • Mild & Spicy Microgreens

Crop cycles vary from 12-17 days for Microgreens, 31 days for lettuce and up to 45 days for Basil. Over the next 6 months the pilot will grow continuous small batches of leafy greens, microgreens and herbs to test for growth rate, yield, flavor and visual appeal. This testing enables First Light Project Farm to determine which optimal attributes of taste, size, and texture appeal to the customer base.

The host for the farm pilot is Philabundance who serves 90,000 people each week, 30 percent of whom are children and 16 percent of whom are seniors. A portion of the food grown by First Light Project Farm will be available to the community through Philabundance and its network of 400 member organizations. First Light Project Farm is one of a number of innovative community partners working with Philabundance to end hunger for good.

For more information:
First Light Project
Lois Davidson, Co-Managing Director
ldavidson@firstlightproject.org
www.firstlightproject.org


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