PSO, Food On The Move, EPRI Celebrate New Container Garden
TULSA, Okla. (April 4, 2023) – With the help of Public Service Company of Oklahoma, an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, and EPRI, Food On The Move is using emerging technology to battle Tulsa’s food deserts.
A PSO/EPRI container garden used by Food On The Move takes advantage of LED technology, high-efficiency HVAC and recirculating water pumps to grow nutritious food year-round in a stable environment that is free of bugs and reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides.
“PSO is excited to be part of this important project that will help build a more resilient community, increase access to healthy food and encourage STEM education,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Leigh Anne Strahler. “Container gardens represent the crossroads of agriculture and technology. They produce abundant crops in a clean, energy-efficient manner.”
Food On The Move harvests as much as 78 pounds of kale a week from the indoor garden, enough to serve 600 families.
“We believe in the power of innovation and partnership to help combat food insecurity and transform communities,” said Food On The Move Founder Taylor Hanson, a member of the pop group Hanson. “The partnership utilizing the PSO/EPRI container garden has already embodied innovation not only between Food On The Move and PSO, but directly with the communities we serve every day. We cannot wait to continue to serve our neighbors through the power of growing produce and bringing healthy food to all of Oklahoma.”
Food On The Move distributes food in three community food and resource festivals held in Tulsa food deserts each month. Each participant receives 30 pounds of fresh produce, including kale among many other items. They also receive a hot meal, and other assistance, such as health checks and resume assistance. On the first and second weeks of the month, food is shared with existing food nonprofits, such as Catholic Charities.
“This technology has allowed us to produce high-quality, organic produce more efficiently and much quicker than traditional farming methods, which allows us to share with the community and local grocers even sooner. This is just the beginning of what we hope to accomplish through urban farming," said Kevin Harper, CEO and president of Food On The Move.
The container garden is a joint effort of PSO and EPRI, an independent nonprofit energy research and development institute that has piloted more than a 20 containers gardens within the United States, including projects with PSO’s sister companies, AEP Ohio and SWEPCO
"Indoor farming offers healthy, locally grown produce year-round, while increasing crop yield, decreasing energy required for transportation and using water efficiently," said David Porter, EPRI vice president of electrification and sustainable energy strategies. "We're proud to work with these collaborators, the local community, and the next generation of farmers."
To evaluate the efficiency of the Tulsa container garden in comparison to other EPRI projects, Food On The Move will grow kale for the first phase of the project. Later, a variety of vegetables will be grown. Crops inside the container are closely monitored using sensor and meter technology, which continuously gather real-time data on growing conditions, energy and water use and other factors.
The container garden is literally a growing resource for STEM education. Food on the Move uses the indoor agriculture site to facilitate an elective course that includes hydroponics and aquaponics at Monroe Middle School. During recent FFA Chapter Officer Leadership Training conferences, PSO briefed FFA chapter advisors on the container garden and the opportunity to use collected data for agriscience fair projects on indoor agriculture.
Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, with offices around the world. EPRI's trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.
About Food On the Move
Food On The Move’s mission is to transform food deserts and the legacy issues surrounding living food-insecure through access, education, and innovative solutions. Giving out over 172,000 pounds of produce to over 27,000 last year, Food On The Move is helping to move healthier food into the hands of those in need. Monthly Community Food and Resource Festivals provide access to those in food deserts, classes in Tulsa schools provide agriculture and nutrition education to students, and their innovation in hydroponic and aquaponic technologies are giving Tulsa a competitive edge.
PSO, a unit of American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP), is an electric utility company serving more than 568,000 customer accounts in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, powering a cleaner, brighter energy future for its customers and 232 communities. Based in Tulsa, PSO has approximately 3,800 megawatts of diverse generating capacity that primarily includes wind and natural gas. It maintains and operates more than 24,000 miles of distribution lines and 3,700 miles of transmission lines and is one of the largest distributors of wind energy in the state. Find news releases and other information at www.PSOklahoma.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor and Instagram @PSOklahoma.
PSO Corporate Communications