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Feeding campus—sustainabily—from a container

Stony Brook University growing lettuce inside upcycled shipping container
University Business, December 2016
Students Kylie Campanelli and Chad Marvin operate a hydroponic lettuce farm that lives inside an upcycled, 40-by-8-foot shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York.
Students Kylie Campanelli and Chad Marvin operate a hydroponic lettuce farm that lives inside an upcycled, 40-by-8-foot shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York.

Designed by the company Freight Farms, the hydroponic lettuce farm inside a shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York uses 90 percent less water than traditional growing methods to provide an acre’s worth of leafy greens to campus dining halls.

Students use farm-management technologies such as cloud-synced growth data and a smartphone app to control lighting.

Underway now for about a year, the project brings farming to a campus that doesn’t have an agriculture program but prioritizes sustainability, says Timothy R. Ecklund, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

The crop may be expanded to tomatoes, peppers and strawberries later this year. “We’re trying to provide more sustainable ways of getting fresh and healthy food that is easy on the planet,” says Kylie Campanelli, an environmental humanities major.

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