Compass Group plans to expand its hydroponic farm footprint through an exclusive partnership with Farmshelf, an indoor hydroponic farm manufacturer.
The partnership will allow the foodservice management company to grow more food on site in each of the segments it serves. Compass believes that the farms will reduce up to 15,000 pounds of food waste annually, save 600,000 gallons of water and eliminate some of the single-use packaging traditionally used in food transport.
No larger than a bookcase, the hydroponic gardens allow Compass chefs to grow over 30 different types of leafy greens and herbs including kale, arugula, chives, za’tar and more. The gardens are also equipped with internal cameras to let chefs and other foodservice team members monitor the plants.
Compass also plans to use the farms to provide firsthand learning experiences for diners. College students studying agriculture or sustainability, for example, could apply for internships to help take care of the farms, and younger students will be able to watch their food grow and receive hands-on learning opportunities in the cafeteria and classroom.
“Our new partnership with Farmshelf builds on the success we’ve had working with them for several years, taking what was originally found in some of the finest dining establishments in the country and making it accessible to millions of students nationwide,” Gary Snyder, CEO of Compass Education, said in a statement. “Beyond the powerful educational and dining opportunities that come from harvesting produce directly from these tech-enabled farms, they further reduce our environmental footprint and support our client partners' reduced or net zero carbon goals.”