Meriden Sprout Food Hub – Project Update 5

Delays and Overcoming Challenges

We hit some of our first bit of bad luck with the build out, and seeing as we are three months into modifying the space, one could say we were due for one or two. We had a few mishaps the past two weeks deliveries. Our raft bed styrofoam rafts came scored in a way that was not conducive to how we were going to cut and use them. The score would have weakened our rafts causing break points likely limiting their lifespan. This was a mistake on the retailer’s end, they sent us the wrong product but the resolution is going to take a week or two to get the proper materials shipped.

In addition to the mix-up with the rafts, we had a delay with a few other products that kept the farm buildout for moving forward as we had hoped.

Let There Be Light
Testing the lights at the Sprout Food Hub in Meriden.
Testing the lights at the Sprout Food Hub in Meriden.

Nevertheless, we have still made good progress since our last build out. All the lights are hung, leveled, wired, and operational. The electrician came in and set the timer and we now have an automated light system for our plants. These lights are super powerful while being extremely energy efficient and should actually allow us to grow our plants a bit faster than they would in a greenhouse or in the field. We can extend our day a bit past what the natural sun cycle would be and we never have a cloudy day in here!

Next Steps

This week we will begin building out the raft bed structure while we await our corrected raft order. We’ll also be installing the HVAC fans for the air exchange and airflow throughout the space. Then we’ll get our seedling room up and running and start our first set of seeds.

While our seeds are getting started we’ll finish off with the aquaculture and plumbing the whole thing together.

We’re closing in on the final steps of this build out and the closer we get the more anxious we get to finish it and get growing. We’ve begun connecting with local area businesses for partnerships on events, community engagement, and on-farm workshops. We’ll have a bunch of announcements about that over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, as always the best place to see behind the scenes looks at the rest of the buildout is through our Facebook and Instagram channels. We’ll continue to post pics and videos of our progress as we reach the finish line.

Finally, if you missed it, we released a blog post of the top ten takeaways and lessons we learned through our first Sprout Food Hub build. We’ll look to take these lessons with us as we expand to more locations in the coming year. If you haven’t already check out that post for one of a kind insights on an urban commercial aquaponics farm build-out.

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