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AeroFarms Community Farms

AeroFarms has recently built and deployed 9 new Community Farm units that will provide an additional 2 tons of fresh food access to 4,500+ local students.
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Who?
AeroFarms is a Certified B Corp indoor vertical farming company on a mission. AeroFarms is leading the AgTech industry to improve the way fresh produce is grown for the health of both people and planet. The world is losing arable land and clean water supply, and at the same time traditional farming methods are not able to keep up with the demands of the growing global population, particularly in urban areas.

What?
AeroFarms has recently announced the expansion of its Community Farm program to bring year-round access to fresh and nutritious leafy greens to local settings like schools, corporate cafeterias, and community centers. This program has three main goals: to enable hands-on, interactive STEM education around sustainable food systems for all ages, to empower underserved communities with healthy eating habits, and to provide access to clean, safe produce year-round.

The recent expansion of nine new farms addresses increased demand from customers for small indoor farming technology and marks the growth of AeroFarms’ equipment business. The AeroFarms Community Farm uses patented and proprietary aeroponic technology to bring the benefits of vertical farming directly to the community. The custom-built system empowers children and adults to participate in the full growing process from seed to salad, while experiencing the advantages of hyperlocal, sustainable food production and learning through science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education. Along with the farm system, AeroFarms also provides a robust service package to Community Farm customers, which includes growing inputs like seeds and nutrients and support hours from AeroFarms’ expert team of scientists and specialists. 

Why?
Studies have shown, including a recent finding from BMC Public Health, that pesticides have disproportionate harm on BIPOC and low-income communities, and especially on children as they are more susceptible to developmental toxins than adults. With our innovative offering, communities have access to fresh, flavorful and nutritious leafy greens all year-round that are grown using zero pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides ever – something that is not commonly accessible to low-income families. Another unique feature of this program is the community’s ability to customize their own produce selection. Participants can decide what is grown within the unit so that it meets the interests and needs of the community or organization it is serving.

Our food system is broken. Significant challenges with the supply chain have presented themselves in recent years, and at the same time we are witnessing the degradation of the natural environment from the effects of climate change. The world must work to reduce the impact that the food system has on our planet. This is why AeroFarms created Community Farms, a program that has reduced impact on the planet from its indoor growing methods and hyperlocal distribution model. There has never been a greater need than now for this program because it addresses a variety of socioeconomic challenges, including the urgent need to alleviate the pressure our current food system puts on the natural world.

We are using our technology and passion to create solutions that fight problems such as arable land loss, water scarcity, and CO2 emissions along the supply chain. These units use patented aeroponic technology, a growing method where plant roots are misted with nutrients to optimize their exposure to water, nutrients, and oxygen. This misting system can use up to 95% less water than traditional farming practices. The community farm combats the loss of arable land with its indoor growing design – avoiding soil erosion and contamination by toxic metals. Additionally, these farms are deployed into the communities they are serving for direct access to nutritious food. Overall, our goal with the Community Farms program is to create a deeper connection to how food is produced and why method matters. We are only just getting started!

 How?
The Community Farms program is a first-of-its-kind initiative that helps address socioeconomic challenges such as food deserts, a lack of healthy food education in low-income communities, unsustainable agriculture practices, and the overuse of pesticides in food production. This project uses AeroFarms’ growing technology, bringing the best of indoor vertical farming to local communities and organizations to provide year-round access to fresh and nutritious greens. 

These custom farming units allow people of all ages to participate in the full growing process from seed to harvest, while experiencing the benefits of hyper-local, sustainable food production. Students and program registrants also get an opportunity for hands-on STEM learning. They can influence and experiment with plant growth outputs by adjusting different environmental factors such as light and nutrient flow. The farms have been designed with adjustable controls to support STEM learning through applied experimentation.  

Growing also recently began at the Community Farm located at Thirteenth Avenue School, which is partnered with the I Have a Dream Foundation – New Jersey, the local affiliate of a national nonprofit that works to close the achievement gap by providing academic enrichment, mentorship, and other support services to under-served and under-resourced communities. The farm at Thirteenth Avenue School will be used to support STEAM education and a new culinary arts program for students. This farm was made possible through a gift from Deloitte.

For more information on the units and overall porgram, go to: www.aerofarms.com/community-farms/

Projects evaluation criteria

Level of Impact
40%
Scalability
30%
Transparency
20%
H-Factor
10%

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