Windy Hill Farm

This interview details Windy Hill Farm, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Steve Savitz, a Teacher at Methacton School District.

Source: Windy Hill Farm

What is the origin story of Windy Hill Farm? 

When I was teaching a unit on sustainable farming in my AP Environmental Science course, I showed a CNN clip of a couple using a hydroponic farm to supply local restaurants with fresh leafy greens. After the 2nd year of showing this movie in the class I started thinking, “Why couldn’t we do that here?”. I shared the clip with my colleague, Jeremy Walton, and asked what he thought about the idea. He was in Immediately, and together we developed a hydroponic farming curriculum and course as an elective for students who are interested. 

Source: Windy Hill Farm

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Windy Hill Farm in the future? 

Space would be one challenge. We found that 12 students comfortably work for the class. We rotate groups of 6 students between the classroom and the farm. We currently can fit two sections of hydroponic farming in our schedules, so we were only able to take 48 students out of the 125 students who registered for the elective. There is also a time constraint, since we only have 90 minutes a day with the students to complete all of the tasks. 

Source: Windy Hill Farm

What is the current size of your growing area? 

The farm is located in a 10’ x 40’ shipping freight container which is equivalent to 3 acres of farmland. 

Do you use CO2 in your operation today -- if so, how much and what do you pay for it? What are your thoughts in CO2 usage in indoor farms? 

Yes, we have a 50lb CO2 tank. I can’t say what the cost is since the school absorbs the cost of the CO2 used with the swimming pool. I know that we have the CO2 set as the minimum standard for our crops. We feel the least amount of CO2 used is best for the environment. 

Source: Windy Hill Farm

Energy is a big topic in indoor farming right now. How much do you pay for electricity (kWh)? Is it mainly from the grid or renewables? 

We pay 20 cents/KWH in our area. The electricity is provided by the grid, and we are currently averaging 4,700kWh/month. At this time, we are selling our produce to a local zoo and a restaurant, along with having a weekly farmers market for the teachers. We also donate to a local food pantry. We placed a device on our farm to measure the amount of KWh we are using each month. Together, with the money earned from these sales and knowing the amount of kWh used, we are saving to purchase solar panels to offset the energy demands of the farm. 

Source: Windy Hill Farm

How can people connect with you or learn more about Windy Hill Farm?

WEBSITE: www.sites.google.com/methacton.org/mhsfreightfarm

INSTAGRAM: @mhsfreightfarm

Source: Windy Hill Farm

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