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AEP Ohio, Mid-Ohio Food Collective and EPRI Reveal New Food Technology

The new tech provides access to year-round healthy food

AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, in partnership with Mid-Ohio Food Collective (MOFC) and the Electric Power Research Institute, is showcasing new technology to grow nutritious food year-round. The “Indoor Ag Container,” a retrofitted semi-trailer equipped with high-tech sensors as well as LED and ultraviolet lights, makes it possible to grow food outside traditional growing seasons.

“We are thankful to have partners who are passionate about our work like AEP Ohio and the Electric Power Research Institute,” said Matt Habash, president and CEO of Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “This collaboration is a testament to what is possible when we work together to find solutions to end hunger.”

The produce is planted inside the container and is closely monitored via remote sensor technology which continuously gathers real-time data on growing conditions. This information allows farmers to remotely control the lighting, temperature and watering conditions to create the ideal setting needed for produce to thrive. Leafy greens are growing on the 88 panels in the Indoor Ag Container — mature plants are harvested weekly and distributed at Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s on-site pantry to provide fresh, nutritious food to neighbors seeking assistance.

“At AEP Ohio, we’re passionate about funding and partnering with organizations like Mid-Ohio Food Collective that combat hunger,” said Marc Reitter, president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio. “We understand that access to nutritious food is a challenge for many in the communities we serve. Through this initiative, we’re working together to help develop innovative technologies that one day might help ensure that everyone has access to fresh food.”

"Indoor farming can offer healthy, locally grown produce year-round to local communities while increasing yield, decreasing energy required for transportation, and using water more efficiently," said Rob Chapman, EPRI senior vice president of Energy Delivery and Customer Solutions. "We're proud to participate in this project, working with collaborators to improve sustainability efforts and food accessibility."

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