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How Nonprofits Are Using Container Farms

Nonprofits around the country use container farms for a variety of purposes.

For example, some sell the produce for extra revenue while others use it in soup kitchens — the possibilities are endless!

In this article, you’ll learn how 6 nonprofits are using container farms to achieve their various missions.

Second Harvest Heartland

Minnesota’s biggest food bank started container farming in 2019, in order to provide additional fresh, healthy food for its dining sites.

Second Harvest Heartland’s container farm, is located at its distribution center, where it grows 8,000 pounds of lettuce a year.

Lettuce has a short shelf-life, so it’s hard to get enough of it from farmers and grocers for distribution.

The container farm supplements the nonprofit’s donated goods and helps ensure the dining sites have enough healthy greens.

Cass Community Social Services

Cass Community Social Services in Michigan, started the Ford Mobile Farm Project in 2018, with the help of a grant from the Bill Ford Better World Challenge.

The nonprofit uses the container farm to increase access to fresh, nutritious food and education for Detroit residents.

Harvests from the nonprofit’s community garden and container farm, are used for meals in the community kitchen and sold to local restaurants for extra revenue.

Cass Community also provides part-time employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.

Lotus House

Florida’s Lotus House Shelter is a women’s shelter that uses holistic solutions to help women and children experiencing homelessness.

The shelter has a culinary center where it serves 350,000 nutritious meals every year, using produce from its rooftop garden and container farm.

Lotus House also runs an educational and job-training program with its farm and culinary center.

It teaches kids about farming and helps women and teenagers at the shelter train for jobs in food service.

San Antonio Clubhouse

This Texas nonprofit provides resources to adults diagnosed with mental illnesses through making meaningful relationships and rewarding work.

San Antonio Clubhouse uses some of the produce from its container farm for feeding clubhouse members and donates the rest to other nonprofits in the community.

The container farm is operated by clubhouse members, giving them a rewarding activity and valuable job training.

Planting seeds, transplanting crops and harvesting the results helps clubhouse members collaborate through hard work, all while building new skills.

DreamTree Project

DreamTree Project in New Mexico offers housing and other resources for youth who come from unsafe environments.

In 2017, DreamTree started planning to bring a hydroponic farm to its facility, in order to meet growing demand for local and organic food.

By 2018, its container farm was producing almost two acres worth of food!

All of the produce is sold to local markets and restaurants, to bring in extra revenue to support the nonprofit’s youth shelter and apartments.

Metro Caring

Metro Caring is a Colorado anti-hunger organization that offers a variety of food-related community programs.

The container farm was mostly purchased with money from a donation from a local foundation, and it’s located at a hospital, which covers the water and electric costs.

The nonprofit uses the lettuce it grows in its container farm in its Fresh Foods Market and cooking clubs.

The Fresh Foods Market offers a variety of nutritious food at no cost to those in need.

As you can see, nonprofits can make a difference in their communities using container farms in a variety of ways.

To learn how your nonprofit can start container farming, check out our website or call 602-753-3469.