South Bend, IN- Ivy Tech Community College and Green Sense Farms hosted a groundbreaking on July 19 to kick off construction of their commercial indoor vertical farm and training facility, located at the college’s South Bend campus.
The 20,000-square foot indoor vertical farm will be an innovative workforce training center for the next generation of farmers as it grows micro greens, baby greens, herbs, and lettuces for local customers. Many of these customers were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking and show their support, including representatives from Martin’s Super Markets, Morris Inn at the University of NotreDame, Café Navarre, Sodexo, and Four Winds Casinos.
Photo caption: On July 19, 2017, Green Sense Farms and Ivy Tech Community College broke ground on a 20,000 square-foot indoor vertical farm which will be an innovative workforce training center for the next generation of farmers as it grows produce for local customers in a year-round, sustainable farm. On hand to celebrate were representatives from Green Sense Farms, Ivy Tech, the City of South Bend, as well as the customers who will use produce from the farm. Pictured are (left to right): Robert Colangelo, Founding Farmer/CEO for Green Sense Farms; Donte Shaw, Executive Chef for Café Navarre; Kenneth Acosta, General Manager for Sodexo; Patrick Dahms, Executive Chef for Morris Inn at University of Notre Dame; Pipe Halpin, Customer Relations for Green Sense Farms; Dr. Thomas G. Coley, Chancellor for Ivy Tech South Bend; Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President of Ivy Tech Community College; Craig Lewkowitz, Vice President of Culinary Operations for Four Winds Casinos.
With support from the city of South Bend, Green Sense Farms will construct the state-of- the-art facility to work as a hands-on training center and working commercial farm to create much needed job-ready graduates to work in food service, produce and as modern indoor vertical farmers. Land, which was approved by Ivy Tech’s state board of trustees on Feb. 2, will be transferred to the Portage-based company with the requirement of cooperatively creating a workforce training program.
Ivy Tech gains access to the working commercial vertical farming as a result of the partnership without the large-scale investment needed to acquire equipment.
Students will receive technical training as well as the soft skills that are in high demand, making them job ready. Courses will begin as non-credit or through courses complementing other programs. The farm is expected to be completed by Q2 2018.