Students at Bowe and Stefanik Elementary Schools now have the unique opportunity of growing fresh greens and herbs year-round right inside their cafeterias thanks to EvanLee Organics and 24:45 Organics patented growing technology. The grow racks use a terraponic system with nutrient-rich soil supplied from the company, which is composted in a large bin between plantings. An automated light system supplies plants with the ideal amount of light each day, helping the system remain highly productive year-round. Each rack can produce 15 - 30 lbs of produce per month, and most greens and herbs provide multiple harvests. The system is sustainable, easy to operate, and will allow students to garden year-round. The racks will also supply hyper local produce for school salad bars for both students and staff. So far, we have grown kale, sage, basil, spinach, chives, and several varieties of lettuce. Moving forward, we will work closely with cafeteria staff to customize the crops for school meals. Our two FoodCorps service members, Anna and Kelly, will oversee the grow racks and use them in hands-on lessons with students. We are very excited to use these new systems to supplement our existing farm to school programs. Be sure to follow us @chicopeefresh for the latest updates about this project!
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.