A startling number of Oklahomans rely on the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma for food.
The Food Bank is always looking for new sources to supply its clients.
A grant from the Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation allows them to grow some of their own.
Food Bank Executive Director Eileen Bradshaw showed off two shipping containers converted into year-round growtainers.
"For us, it is really exciting because it gives us a 12-month supply of really perishable, high value produce that we don't always have access to,” said Bradshaw.
In one container, they're growing dwarf cherry tomato plants. It's looked like a tomato plant jungle. In the other one, they are growing several kinds of lettuce.
The growtainers are set up as mini hydroponic farms. They are climate controlled, with red and blue LED grow lights. They give everything a purple hue. The lights are on 18 hours a day and off for six.
While photojournalist Michael Woods and I were there, Joy Lindner and Ashley Choate came in to harvest some of the lettuce. They'll take it to one of eight free farmers markets for distribution later the same day.
From growtainer to the client the same day, it doesn’t get much fresher than that.
"So far, it looks like it's gonna be an invaluable source for vegetables for us,” said Bradshaw.