The city of Buffalo, NY is working with the New York Power Authority’s environmental justice program and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) on a pilot project focusing on indoor farming and increasing the year-round production of fresh fruits and vegetables. The project will study the optimum growing requirements for a shipping container farm environment and address environmental and energy impacts that could help reduce costs and expand crop production.
It will provide produce for FeedMore WNY – a local hunger-relief organization, help address climate change in communities that host NYPA facilities, and support New York’s clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
“The New York Power Authority is pleased to be part of this national collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute that will improve indoor farming methods while supporting our neighbors in need in Western New York,” NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said. “Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s continued climate leadership, we will find new and sustainable ways to grow affordable and fresh produce all year while prioritizing New York state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
The plans are to begin by producing kale in the specially outfitted 40-foot shipping container, called “Rooting for Our Neighbors.” Kale was chosen as the initial crop because of its high nutrient value and short harvest cycle.
A press release stated, “Using shipping containers makes it possible to increase the availability and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round in urban and rural areas where they are not readily available. By growing indoors in a controlled, pesticide-free, ‘sunless’ environment, indoor farming uses far less water and land than conventional farming. Farms can be built anywhere, reducing both costs and carbon emissions from transportation of produce to consumers, and increasing food security.”