Students working with lettuce greens in the freight farm

Students working with lettuce greens in Saint Joseph’s hydroponic freight farm.

By MaKenzie Copp ′20, double majoring in English and Writing and Publishing

As a teaser for an upcoming event on their webpage, Freight Farms recently shared a short story online about Saint Joseph’s College. The story featured a group of SJC students and staff who have all been hard at work on the school’s hydroponic Freight Farm for over a year now. The college’s core mission, and strong focus on creating a sustainable environment— not only at our school, but in the larger community— made it a perfect place to cultivate and run this type of farm. The Freight Farm is located inside a large shipping container behind Mercy hall on our Sebago Lake campus. Inside the container is an amazing, student-run farming operation that helps to provide the local and sustainable greens to feed our community here at the college. If you have eaten at Pearson’s Café, you have quite literally tasted the fruits of the Freight Farm worker’s labor, as they produce two different kinds of lettuce for use in the salad and sandwich bars.

“The opportunities and experiences I have gained through working on the farm have shifted my focus of study.” — Rebecca Barulli ’20

Student Rebecca Barulli in the freight farm

Rebecca Barulli ’20 in the freight farm

The farm on our campus was originally at Hannaford Supermarket, as a part of a trial they were doing with Freight Farms; however, it was later moved to SJC. Saint Joseph’s Enterprise Startup and Operations Manager, Maya Atlas, said that “the farm was better suited to a system like ours where we could staff, harvest, and serve everything within our immediate community, so we brought their farm to our campus.” Since its arrival, the farm has become highly productive, and the passionate group of student workers that help to maintain the farm, alongside Hilary Lamkin, who manages the farm as well as Pearson’s Café, are eager to share their work with all those at SJC and beyond. Student worker Rebecca Barulli, on her experiences with the farm, says “the opportunities and experiences I have gained through working on the farm have shifted my focus of study.” She will now be “pursuing a career in hydroponic or aeroponic growing” after graduation from Saint Joseph’s. It is clear that those who have been working to grow and maintain the farm love their work, and the impact it has on those around them. Maya Atlas notes that “the best way to get people excited is to bring them into the farm,” and urges anyone who is interested in learning more about the farm to reach out!

Check out the full interview from Freight Farms. And make sure to register for their webinar with SJC community members, happening Monday, October 21.