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Minnesota Welcomes First Black-Owned Freight Farm

Minnesota Welcomes First Black-Owned Freight Farm

Rural Hennepin County in Minnesota welcomes the state’s inaugural Black-owned Freight Farm on March 27, marking a significant stride in modern produce cultivation within confined spaces, as reported by KARE11.

Freight Farms, a Boston-based agricultural technology company, pioneered the creation of “container farms” – hydroponic farming systems housed within freight containers.

Spearheaded by farmer Marcus Carpenter and his organization, Route 1, the arrival of the Minnesota Freight Farm signals a pivotal moment in the battle against hunger and unequal access to food.

“This is a momentous occasion,” Carpenter expressed as a semi-truck completed its journey from Massachusetts to Medina in rural Hennepin County.

“We are receiving our very first Freight Farm. The crane will unload the freight farm from the back of the truck.”

Freight Farms, headquartered in Boston, equips farmers worldwide with repurposed shipping containers, enabling efficient food cultivation within controlled environments. 

For Carpenter and Route 1, this innovative approach not only yields fresh produce but also fosters opportunities for youth involvement and education.

“In addition to producing over 200 pounds of fresh produce per week, this freight farm allows us to engage youth who may not have had exposure to agriculture,” Carpenter elaborated.

Route 1’s Commitment to Black Participation in Farming

Beyond farming, Route 1’s commitment extends to its MN Seeds to Success Youth Academy, offering hands-on agricultural and leadership education to address systemic barriers that have historically hindered Black participation in farming.

This initiative gains significance within the broader context of agricultural disparities. Carpenter highlights the historical lack of government support for Black farmers, which has led to underrepresentation in the agricultural sector and worsened food insecurity in Black communities.

“The modern approach of freight farming aims to change this,” Carpenter stressed. 

“It provides an opportunity to bring clean, culturally relevant, and nutritious food to the heart of some of our food deserts in low to medium-income areas.”

With support from American Family Insurance’s social impact initiative, Route 1’s freight farm represents a step towards bridging equity gaps and promoting sustainable community development.

Nyra Jordan, social impact investment director for AmFam Institute, emphasized Route 1’s multigenerational farming approach and its potential to drive positive change in Minnesota.

“While we have concerns about hunger in America,” Jordan told the Daily Yonder, “at the local level, and with the efforts of Route 1, there are solutions… 

By backing markets and Route 1, we’re supporting an innovative business model that provides farmers with the land and resources necessary for a thriving farming operation.

We hope to foster economic opportunities and address hunger through this approach.”


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