Freight Farm to help Lincoln youth grow fresh produce year-round

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s a fully functioning farm, that got to Lincoln by trains and was installed by cranes.

A project aimed at teaching Lincoln youth about the future of farming from the parking lot of The Bay. It’s known as a Freight Farm and it will allow students from kindergarten to college to grow produce, year-round.

Beyond School Bells is an after-school program network. Its newest project brought a hydroponic shipping container farm to the capital city.

“It’s going to be one of the few Freight Farms in the country that pretty much is exclusively run by youth,” said Anna Wishart, the Director of Partnerships of Beyond School Bells.

Year-round, a trailer of this size can produce the same amount as a 2.5 acre farm.

Those who work inside the trailer can do a variety of different activities, from planting seeds to managing crops, to learning about the technology that makes it all run.

“On the inside of it there’s a bunch of growing panels, LED lights,” said Doak Field, the Director of Freight Farm Operations. “It’s hydroponic, so basically no soil, the water is just recycled and you can grow in a very quick cycle with just nutrients.”

The Freight Farm is adapted to allow the growth to happen in many different stages inside the trailer.

It has seed stations and once those are ready they’re transferred to hanging panels that allow plants to grow vertically to optimize space.

“We’re going to be growing lettuce, greens, herbs, all kinds of stuff out here,” Field said.

The produce grown there will be sold by the youth at the Lincoln Farmers Market.

It will also be used to stock various food pantries, including the one that runs out of The Bay.

The group is also partnering with restaurants on a stretch of 27th Streets, to grow produce for them as well.

“The proceeds will go into helping to run this and make this as sustainable an endeavor as possible,” Wishart said.

Beyond School Bells said it should be up and growing by the end of the month.

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