From the outside, it looks like a freight car. But inside, students are working hard to grow local produce for campus restaurants. Brought to campus by OU Housing and Food, the freight car houses a compact vertical farm with the capacity to grow over 4,500 plants for OU’s restaurants.
Since it’s installment, OU Housing and Food has asked the student organization, OUr Earth, to mobilize student volunteers to maintain the farm. “Housing and Food really empowered us to make the Freight Farm a student-led initiative,” said Allyson Wiley, President of OUr Earth. The organization oversees planting seedlings, cleaning the farm, and harvesting crops.
OU is one of six universities in the country to bring a Freight Farm to campus and the first university in the Big 12 to do so. “It demonstrates an amount of commitment that Housing and Food has not only for the students, but also for the community,” said Windeon McDowell, adviser of the Leafy Green Machine.
If the farm is successful, there’s a possibility OU will bring more Leafy Green Machines to campus, allowing more access to locally grown produce. “It really is a stepping stone for more sustainability efforts on campus,” said Allyson. “Whether it’s another Freight Farm or more recycling, it shows that OU cares about green initiatives,” she said.