Our ‘Sota Grown Indoor Food Production Container has Arrived!

Last year, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative was selected by our power supplier, Great River Energy (GRE), to be the host of a hydroponic indoor food production container in our service territory. This national research project is being conducted by the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Picture of Allison and Greg taking a look at the internal control unit.

Allison and Greg taking a look at the internal control unit.

On January 15th, the ‘Sota Grown agricultural pod finally arrived to its home at the Ag and Energy Center at Central Lakes College (CLC) in Staples. The keys were passed from GRE to TWEC and then to the host, CLC. We have partnered with the Ag and Energy Center to give students the unique opportunity to learn firsthand about sustainable agricultural practices by maintaining and harvesting the produce.

Lakewood Health System is also another member of the project team and will receive the produce that is grown to use in their “Food Farmacy” program. This program works to address hunger/health disparities and is designed to connect families with healthy food options.

This project will gather useful data for the future expansion of Minnesota’s indoor agriculture industry. This hydroponic system is built entirely inside a shipping container. It will provide valuable data for utilities—allowing analysis of the electric load required to operate in our region. A wide range of operation parameters will be monitored to determine how Minnesota’s outdoor climate impacts energy consumption.GRE and TWEC will use this data for electricity load planning and evaluating beneficial rate designs.

TWEC is excited for this community project and grateful to be working with our local partners, Central Lakes College and Lakewood Health System. This project not only benefits the utility industry but the entire community.

'Sota Grown is installed.