The sun powers a Syracuse community farm — in more ways than one » Yale Climate Connections


On a community farm near Syracuse, New York, the sun helps vegetables grow and powers a new pavilion where farmers wash, pack, and store their produce.

Salt City Harvest Farm was created 10 years ago as a place where refugees to the area could farm. People from Nepal, Bhutan, Somalia, and elsewhere grow diverse crops on the land, including some that are hard to come by in Central New York, like bitter melon, daikon radishes, and purple yard-long beans.

“They’re growing for their own consumption and they’re growing for their community’s consumption. But they also take those things out into the regional farmers market and then they’re for sale in the broader community,” says architect David Shanks.

He says for years, the farm lacked a shaded place to wash and pack vegetables.

“And something that they also lacked on the farm was cold storage, and this is really critical,” Shanks says. “Having cold storage would allow them to keep the produce fresher for longer periods.”

So Shanks designed and helped build a new pavilion where people can now gather in the shade and do their post-harvest work.

Rooftop solar and on-site batteries power a cold storage room as well as lights and phone chargers.

So clean energy is helping the farmers feed their families and communities.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media


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