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 Notre
Dame, Café Navarre, Sodexo, and 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.