GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A unique farming technique is being used out in Goochland County to help feed the hungry.
Greenswell Growers’ hydroponic greenhouse works with FeedMore to get fresh, locally grown greens to food banks across Central Virginia.
From when Greenswell Growers opened in November 2021 to now, the private company has given 30,000 pounds of lettuce to FeedMore, which in turn has helped to make 40,000 meals for folks in need.
“It’s not like anything you’ll ever try,” Greenswell Growers president Carl Gupton said.
Rows and rows of crisp, crunchy lettuce are grown from water in channels inside the massive hydroponic greenhouse in Goochland.
Gupton said about three and a half pounds of lettuce moves through each channel.
He said they grow about 26 times what traditional farms will grow.
The thousands of pounds of lettuce are sent to restaurants and grocery stores like Food Lion, and donated to FeedMore.
“For our ability to transport that to our 280 agencies all throughout Central Virginia, so important to have that shelf life, so important for our clients to have proper and good nutrition,” FeedMore CEO Doug Pick said.
Pick said it helps give produce that has a shelf life of two to three weeks to 220,000 Central Virginians in need.
“Their eyes get awfully big when they see these beautiful greens,” Pick said about FeedMore clients.
The lettuce is clean, avoiding the recalls sometimes seen for lettuce.
“No human hands touch the product from seed to cultivation and our retail packaging from seed to your fridge,” Gupton said.
Greenswell Growers said the company isn’t stopping at lettuce, and hopes to expand starting in the next year or so.
“We’ll go to the grocery store and try to figure out what product could taste better and be simplified,” Gupton said.
Last week, Greenswell Growers partnered with Ukrops for a premade salad that can now be found at Kroger stores and at the Ukrops Market Hall.