Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia recently visited a hydroponic farming facility that produces fresh produce and he said he thinks this type of innovative facility could help areas that are food deserts such as the East Side of Pueblo.
The Pueblo Democrat toured the operations of Colorado-based startup FarmBox Foods, which was founded on a mission to bring the farm right to the doorstep of those who need it most.
The company says it sees a future where communities achieve food independence by producing their own healthy food and distributing it locally.
“When I visited these facilities, it was clear to me that I was looking at the future of urban farming,” Garcia said. “So many communities suffer from inadequate access to fresh produce, especially in low-income neighborhoods where food deserts have become all too common. FarmBox Foods provides a sustainable solution that has the capacity to feed hundreds of people every week in only 320 square-feet.”
Saying it could be a complement to traditional agriculture. Garcia said such an operation could benefit areas such as the East Side where there are no grocery stores for miles.
“One of the things I’m doing is having some conversations with my colleagues about understanding how this could be used in communities where there are food deserts,” Garcia said to the Chieftain. “It’s not to say that we want to put these on every corner and that there’s no opportunity for traditional agriculture. I think we need to be creative about what is it we need in certain communities, what people would like in certain communities, and what role do we play from policy perspectives in introducing opportunities like this into food deserts.”
Garcia said efficient, hydroponic agriculture solutions are becoming increasingly attractive to institutions such as hospitals and schools that can use the year-round grow houses to deliver quality, organic food to the people they serve. They also present an opportunity to increase food resources for the homeless and underemployed, while providing nutritional education for the community, Garcia added.
“St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center here in Pueblo is setting a leading example on how to sustainably source healthy food for their patients and staff, achieving organic food reliability at a fraction of the cost,” Garcia said. “High-quality produce is often prohibitively expensive for families and businesses, but these compact, localized operations open up a huge door for long-term, affordable solutions.”
Chieftain reporter Ryan Severance can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @RyanSevvy. Help support local journalism by subscribing to the Chieftain at chieftain.com/subscribenow
Published at Tue, 04 Aug 2020 18:11:15 +0000