Welcome back to the Springstone Farms environmental consulting blog! My name is Emil and I am the Vice Project Manager for this exciting project. My job is not only to assist Tiago, our project manager, in overseeing the project as a whole but I’m also a member of the Hydroponics group and assisting the rain irrigation group as well. You can say I’m like a steady quarterback. My job today is to deliver an update on the progress of the Hydroponics group.
Our allotted space is approximately 100 sq. ft. and we’re in communication with Joe with plans to implement a 400-600 sq. ft. quonset style “hoop house” greenhouse on the farm property. This allows us to patiently search for a greenhouse that most likely will be purchased secondhand. Our focus is on growing microgreens, which are the tiny or young forms of edible greens most commonly used for garnishes as well as flavor components in fine dining and organic juice bars. So far, we’ve been able to test and record various growing mediums, trays, seeds, and germination rates.
In the last couple of weeks we have given tours to over 30 people at the greenhouse, educating them on hydroponic systems and microgreens. We were also invited to the annual Groundwork Gala, attended a vendor’s event at a local farmers market, performed a hands-on demonstration at an elementary school and have started to connect local restaurants to our products. We hope that our small-scale operation will be a hit and that Springstone Farm will meet the capacity that we’ll soon need.Since Springstone Farm is an hour away from Kean University Union, NJ campus we found it wise to first experiment with hydroponics locally on a small scale. With that said, we are currently conducting trials at a greenhouse in Elizabeth, NJ, only five minutes away from the campus, owned by Groundwork Elizabeth. Our hopes are to replicate our learned strategy on a broader scale at Springstone Farm. We acquired this arrangement from former internships at Groundwork, a non-profit organization whose goal is to build a more sustainable community while promoting the environment, economic, and social well-being.