On June 27, 2019, Holyoke Community College celebrated the graduation of 12 apprentices from its Freight Farms workforce training program, a new apprenticeship-based opportunity to learn the art and practice of cutting-edge hydroponics based in a facility close to the MGHPCC.
Training takes place in a pair of refurbished shipping containers "Freight Farms" located on Race Street, in the heart of Holyoke. The re-purposed containers are used to grow leafy greens and herbs without the use of soil. Each of the container farms can hold 256 grow towers with a capacity of 10-12 plants each, and are able to grow as much produce in a year as an acre of farmland.
The soil-free facilities use water, mineral nutrients and LED lights for growing leafy greens like lettuce - image courtesy Holyoke Community College.
From learning how to seed, transplant, harvest and package crops to maintaining a safe, clean, and organized work area, apprentices graduate the program with a full working knowledge of how to work in a hydroponic facility and follow food safety standards
The Holyoke Freight Farm is a collaboration between Holyoke Community College, Nuestras Raices and the City of Holyoke, with support from MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative. MGHPCC is happy to be a neighbor and to assist, as the fiscal sponsor for a TDI Fellows Cohort from MassDevelopment.