Indoor farming project promotes sustainability in Montgomery County

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Getting out to the grocery store can be a hassle, and it can be quite expensive, but what if you could just grow what you needed from the comfort of your own kitchen?

The Food Grown Home project is a futuristic take on today’s problems, promoting sustainability into the future and addressing the current food insecurity crisis. The project brings small-scale indoor farming to homes across Montgomery County.

“Indoor farming takes 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture. With indoor farming, your growth isn’t affected by the climate outside,” said Sandra Lee of Metro Green Style, a lifestyle brand collaborating with Family Learning Solutions on the Food Grown Home project.

“There’s seeds, sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes. There are lots of things you can actually grow indoors, things I didn’t know about,” said Lori Melman of Family Learning Solutions.

They’re sending out free kits filled with starters, soil, seeds, and instructions to those who are willing to share their progress online with FGH. At the time of this report, they have too many requests to get to, but they’re hoping to reopen the sign-up system soon.

Feeding America predicts that over 20% of Montgomery County residents will experience food insecurity brought on by the pandemic, and Food Grown Home organizers say growing from home could be a small, simple step toward helping our hardest-hit communities.

“You don’t need land, you don’t need a lot of land. You can grow nutrient-dense food in a mason jar,” said Lee. “You can add it to what you already eat for more nutrients. Think of them like vitamins.”

“It may just be sprouts in a jar, but if you start really small, you can teach people that it’s not as complicated as it looks,” said home grower and FGH partner Alexzander Baetsen. “Plus, it’s a lot easier to eat more vegetables than I thought. You can throw sprouts on mac n’ cheese, salads, soups, burgers, anything.”

Leaders on the project are aiming to nourish minds and bodies while fostering the future of indoor farming.

“Everyone loves when they get their crop. It’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s a skill of empowerment,” said Lee.

“To see it come back to me, to see my reward for putting in all this effort, it’s exciting. It’s rewarding. It’s empowering,” said Baetsen of his experience with indoor farming.

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