Campus success story
Added on 06 June 2023
It started when Alabama Power (a utility company) purchased a container farm from Freight Farms and Wells went to look at it. He also was able to work with one when a restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama bought the container farm from Alabama Power and another model from Freight Farms.
“We had helped them a little bit with some technical stuff,” he says. “So when it was time for us to get our own container farms, which we had wanted to do, Freight Farms was an obvious choice because we had some experience with them.” Currently, Wells says the main crop grown in the farms are spring mix that are served in campus dining salad bars.
The appeal of container farming at Auburn, Wells says, starts with campus dining. His department has a partnership with campus dining to grow food on campus for dining halls. Considering changing weather, consistent demand for 30,000 students and more, container farming made sense.
“We aren't in the quantity business,” Wells says. “I think the students that eat the spring mix that comes from the farms are experiencing the highest quality.”
Additionally, Wells said his department wanted a “manageable” version of vertical farming on campus. To start, they ordered two Freight Farms models. While Wells is ultimately responsible for the farms, he says they are a student-led project. There's a grad student or a research assistant who is in charge and they help students do crop scheduling and figure out what crops to grow. Currently, four students work on the container farms and grow the crops. Harvests and deliveries are then coordinated with the chefs in the various dining halls on campus.
Header Photo Caption: Daniel Wells working inside a Freight Farm. Photo courtesy of Daniel Wells