Growing minds and communities with fresh, healthy food.
SEFCU Fights Hunger in Non-traditional Ways
Attacking Hunger at its Root.
What’s a Freight Farm?
Great things do come in small packages! A Freight Farm is a 40-foot, self-contained hydroponic growing container. Container farming works well in both urban and rural settings and can function as a stand-alone business, or an accessory to an existing farm or restaurant. Beyond food production, a container farm is an easy way for small businesses and organizations to incorporate sustainable practices, educational curricula, community engagement, or job programs into their current business model.
SEFCU’s Philosophy on Freight Farms
In 2018, SEFCU launched a bold initiative to attack hunger at its root and bought its first Freight Farm, its namesake from a company that manufacturers this type of growing container out of Boston, MA. Our plan was to test their concept that anyone, anywhere can grow healthy leafy greens 24/7/365 regardless of climate, and boy, did we grow lettuce! Our SEFCU farmers at our Patroon Creek location have been able to produce heads of local and pesticide-free lettuce, leafy greens, and herbs to supply our own employee café and various non-profit organizations in our community. By the fall of 2018, SEFCU made plans to donate its first non-profit Freight Farm to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area which landed in Troy during the summer of 2019. In January 2021, our second donated farm to a non-profit partner went to the City Mission of Schenectady, helping the homeless shelter to sustainably feed their community while trying their hand at a social enterprise.
What a Year it Has Been!
Like any good well-oiled machine, our SEFCU Freight Farm in the Patroon Creek location kept chugging throughout what proved to be a very interesting final nine months of 2020. We were very successful in growing an abundance of healthy produce for our community members in need. We exceeded expectations on our head weight with an average of 2.86oz for 2020, larger than any of our prior two years of growing produce in the Freight Farm. Our year-end total harvest was 25,610 plants with 24,266 of them donated to the community. That’s more plant donations than any other year in SEFCU Freight Farm history! Exceeding donations in 2019 by 9,990 plants and 2018 by an amazing 23,202 plants was a positive result of the pandemic as we shifted from a partial community donation model to a 100% community donation model in mid-March when our employees started working remotely and we stopped supplying the SEFCU café. With our employees working remotely to begin 2021, the entire Freight Farm crop will continue to be donated to non-profit partners and in partnership with the farmers leading the donated Freight Farms at the non-profits, we hope that we can continue to make a noticeable impact.