Big Y, Springfield, Mass., formed a partnership with The Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse Cooperative, Springfield, Mass., to receive freshly harvested lettuce year-round.
Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse is a new $1,500,000 hydroponic greenhouse urban farm, what is said to be the first large-scale urban agricultural worker-owned cooperative in Massachusetts.
This worker-owned cooperative greenhouse is designed to meet the demands for year-round local lettuce and produce.
Full heads of green and red lettuce and Manoa Romaine lettuce will be among the first staple crops, with herb varieties, greens such as kale and bok choy and a selection of culturally specific crops like Callaloo being grown as samples for test marketing.
“We want to be known as the urban cooperative greenhouse that can grow anything,” says Stephen Hilyard, lead farmer for The Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse Cooperative.
The greenhouse is a state-of-the-art machine built to grow efficiently and save energy. During hot summer days and cooler nights, the greenhouse shade curtain protects the plants from the day's hot sun and retains heat inside the growing area during cold nights, reflecting extra heat away from the plants during hot days, saving 40% of energy use. The greenhouse monorail system allows the Wellspring Harvest production team to easily move plants overhead and plant and harvest in a safer, more efficient manner.