ROCKLAND — AIO Food and Energy Assistance announces the successful beginning of a fundraising campaign for the implementation of year-round hydroponic growing.
This campaign is the result of a partnership with, and being spearheaded by, a newly forming nonprofit organization, Long Table Wellness, with a mission to inspire community; ensure year-round, fresh food; and promote planetary and personal wellness through innovations in the integration of ecologically-designed agricultural systems, architectural spaces, and local economies.
Through the generous support of those who attended the kickoff event last month, this partnership has already raised more than $6,000 to bring a Freight Farm unit (freightfarms.com) to the AIO campus in Rockland.
“In a nutshell, a Freight Farm marries an idea from one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – with innovative modern technology – LED lighting, water pumping, computer software, insulation, and HVAC equipment,” said AIO, in a news release.
The result is a 40-foot shipping container fitted out with the potential to grow more than three tons of greens, lettuce, herbs, flowers, and root vegetables each year. For every year that this yield potential is met, 1/3 of the value of the produce will cover operating costs, leaving 2/3 of the value to feed people for free.
“This is truly a ‘teaching people to fish’ kind of a project, and not just an endless handout of ‘free fish (or lettuce, as the case may be)’” said AIO.
Food insecurity continues to be a critical issue affecting individuals and families across our region. AIO Food & Energy Assistance has long been committed to providing essential food assistance to those in need. As the demand for fresh and nutritious produce throughout the year has steadily grown, a more sustainable and reliable solution is needed. This collaboration with Long Table Wellness will allow AIO to establish a turnkey, state-of-the-art hydroponic farm, enabling year-round cultivation of fresh, local produce to supplement their food assistance programs.
"We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support we have already received with a single event. Thanks to the generous contributions from our community and our partnership with Long Table Wellness, we are well on the way towards growing fresh and nutritious produce all year long for our neighbors,” said Joe Ryan, Executive Director for AIO Food Pantry. "Knox Country continues to lead the way in fighting food insecurity and caring for our neighbors. Year-round indoor farming is yet another innovative and sustainable way to provide food. We hope that everyone will chip in to bring this exciting innovation to our community.”
For more information about the partnership and the project and to donate, please go to: gofund.me/80ac27e6