Imagining a backyard garden typically elicits notions of a dirt plot, some feeble stalks of greens and a whole lot of legwork. While so many would-be gardeners have dreams of fertile grounds and bountiful harvests, successfully growing your own produce – and enough of it – can be challenging.
Recognizing this issue – but intent on helping people become closer to their food – actor Zooey Deschanel and her husband, producer Jacob Pechenik, founded The Farm Project.
The goal of The Farm Project is to empower initiatives that reconnect people with their food – bringing people to farms in their community, and farms to the people around them.
One of these initiatives is Lettuce Grow. A company that lets people grow their own food using aeroponic on-premise vertical growing towers. With seedlings sourced directly from local farmers, Lettuce Grow provides full farm management, resulting in a constant supply of tasty, healthy, hyper-local produce.
In May, the uShip office was outfitted with 10 growing towers, which will be fully managed by the Lettuce Grow team. The towers feature several varieties of lettuce and herbs to be used in our corporate kitchen. Head Chef Ella Adams championed the installation effort, with a hope that the aeroponic pods would supply the entire demand for lettuce and herbs in the uShip kitchen.
Lettuce Grow towers are different from other growing techniques and tools thanks to the aeroponics technology used and the expert team that plans and implements the planting, maintenance and harvesting schedules. Depending on the environment and needs of the farmer, the Lettuce Grow team will determine which varieties will grow best, and how they need to be managed.
The initiative first launched in Los Angeles, with a secondary wave in Central Texas. There are two current tower installations in Austin with more planned, and more than 600 existing tower sites in Los Angeles, including at 60 restaurants.
The store-bought lettuce we eat typically travels around 1,500 miles before reaching our plates, resulting in less crunch, flavor and freshness. Plus, the distance the lettuce must travel means it packs fewer nutrients per bite, and puts a strain on the environment in transit. But thanks to Lettuce Grow, uShippers now get to enjoy more delicious salads and herbs than we knew possible – grown and picked right from our backyard.