CSU to launch first campus hydroponic farm

WILBERFORCE — Central State University will launch the first hydroponic container farm on a university campus in Ohio. The farm, which will be officially launched during a ceremony at the school 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, will also be the first such farm among 1890 Land-Grant universities.

Protected from temperature changes and other environmental disturbances, the refurbished shipping freight will grow fresh produce for use by the university café, operated by SodexoMAGIC. Produce will also be made available to the local community.

The container farm uses a process to grow the crops called hydroponics. The hydroponic, or soil-less technology and mechanics, provides plants with necessary sustenance through nutrient-enriched water. The farm is capable of producing commercial-grade vegetables within a small footprint. The shipping freight container is the kind seen on the back of a semi’s trailer. It is only 320 square feet but produces between one to two acres of farmland. The inside climate is controlled with an app that can be downloaded on a phone.

CSU’s sustainable agriculture students will help run the container farm. The students will go through a two-day farm training camp to learn the cultivation and harvesting methods used to grow produce on the hydroponic container farm. Students will also learn what it means to live a healthy life and how important it is to take good care of the earth by using alternative crop harvesting technology.

The hydroponic container venture is a partnership with LGR Farms and president Ekpe Udoh, a professional basketball player with the Utah Jazz.