Michaela Francesoni ’18: Summer Internship at Freight Farms

The Freight Farm at Rivers

I have spent the last two weeks as an intern at Freight Farms, a company that makes hydroponic farms out of used shipping containers. For reference: one Leafy Green Machine (LGM) is equal to more than one acre of land and uses 90% less water than a regular soil farm. The LGM can have 12 harvests in one year versus a regular farm with 1 harvest per year.

I began last week with farm camp, a two-day program for those who have purchased Freight Farms and are getting ready to start growing. The program teaches you everything about the LGM, from all the parts of the unit to marketing your new business to programming the farm — and everything in between. I learned the ins and outs of running the farm in preparation for running their headquarters farm in the following weeks.

My typical day begins with a long commute from Bedford into the heart of South Boston, an hour and a half from car to train to bus to office. Then I start the day off in the office doing research on various crops with the ultimate goal of developing growing profiles for those crops. These profiles include what conditions work best for growing that crop as well as how to best care for the plant. Currently I am researching Strawberries and Hops so these crops can be tested. If successful they will then be recommended to farmers for their own business.

I then make my way into the farm and work on anything that needs to be done. Seeding, transplanting, harvesting cleaning and anything else. In addition to this I have been helping get their new future product up and running. They call it the LGC and it is a mini version of the LGM (the shipping container). We have worked on cleaning tanks, setting up the growing towers as well as programing. This Thursday we put seedlings in so in a few weeks we will have our first harvest!

Over the course of the summer I will continue to do research as well as running the farm.