TVA says Manna House has been feeding the homeless and those in need in Huntsville since 2004.
“It’s expensive to buy that much lettuce, so we decided there had to be a better way to have a more consistent supply at an affordable price,” said Manna House Director Fran Fluhler.
TVA says it helped Manna House establish the new Fields of Green Hydroponic Garden, a 15,000-square-foot indoor lettuce farm that can produce 21,000 heads of lettuce a month.
“The plants are grown in a sterile media within a controlled environment,” said Gary Jordan, a Manna House volunteer. “We pull the entire plant, roots and all, immerse them in cool water and deliver them locally within 24 hours.”
According to TVA, Manna House donates 10 percent of its monthly lettuce harvest to other ministries and non-profits, and from what is left, about half of that is sold to local caterers and restaurants. TVA says the proceeds from these sales are used to buy groceries and other basic necessities to supplement the salads they provide for people in need.
TVA says, because of the hydroponic garden’s lettuce sales, Manna House is able to buy and distribute about 28 to 30 pallets of groceries each day to families.
“TVA’s partnership has been such a blessing. I loved the fact that they cared enough to come back and walk through the garden,” Fluhler said. “Some of their employees even came down and volunteered at the Manna House.”
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