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Big Y in the News

Headquartered in Springfield, MA, Big Y is one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England. Proud to be family owned and operated, we operate almost 80 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts with over 11,000 employees. Big Y has been named a 2015 Employer of Choice by the Employers Association of the Northeast. Founded in 1936 by brothers Paul and Gerald D'Amour, the store was named after an intersection in Chicopee, Massachusetts where two roads converge to form a "Y".

Big Y in the News contains excerpts from press releases that have been sent to local media.

New Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse Cooperative Delivers the First Harvest

SPRINGFIELD, MA (July 24, 2018)

The Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse Cooperative will launch and make its first delivery of freshly harvested lettuce to the Big Y World Class Market on Cooley Street, Springfield, MA on Tuesday, July 31 2018.

Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse is a brand new $1,500,000 dollar Greenhouse Urban Farm, one of the first large-scale urban agricultural worker-owned cooperatives. This urban farm is located in Indian Orchard, Western Massachusetts. This worker-owned cooperative greenhouse is designed to meet the demands of year-round local Lettuce by theregion's local population of health-conscious consumers of locally grown foods.

Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse is one of the first Urban Greenhouse cooperative farms to have the Massachusetts Agricultural department Commonwealth Quality Program Certification Status. This CQPC is the most current highest standards requirements for safe and best agricultural practices in the state of Massachusetts.

All of the food from seed to plant to table is grown in water using the hydroponic method. All pest control is done using organic methods. All of the Lettuce is greenhouse grown and Non-GMO.

Hydroponics, which literally means “water working,” is a well-established technique for maximizing crop yields, nutrition and flavor using scientifically derived, crop specific organic nutrient mixes without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

The locally grown Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse hydroponic grown Lettuce has a four-season demand and is expanding rapidly as local hospitals, colleges, and of course the Big Y World Class Markets all pledge to enthusiastically support, to increase purchasing more locally grown products.

This new Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse worker-owned cooperative has already made a great community impact, by making use of empty urban lots that were otherwise abandoned, to rapidly creating up to 6 new jobs and give the opportunity for these new worker-owners to earn and start the process of wealth creation as the new cooperatives greenhouse members.

Full heads of Green and Red Salanova and Manoa Romaine lettuce will be among their first staple crops, with a few herb varieties, greens such as kale and bok choy, and a selection of culturally specific crops like Callaloo being grown assamples for test marketing. As the lead urban farmer Stephen Hilyard says, “We want to be known as the urban cooperative greenhouse that can grow anything.”

The Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse offers to grow to order four seasons services.

During these hot summer days and cooler nights, the seedlings are growing, the greenhouse shade curtain is protecting the nutritious plants from the days hot sun. The shade curtain will also retain heat inside the growing area during coldnights, and reflect extra heat away from the plants during hot days, saving 40% of energy use. The greenhouse monorailsystem will allow the Wellspring Harvest production team to easily move plants overhead and make the planting and harvesting process much more efficient and safe.

Building the greenhouse has taken almost exactly a year from the time that they broke ground. One of the challengingprojects was to install the polyethylene inflatable roof, a high wire project that required a crew up on the catwalks 14feet in the air, and a crew up on the greenhouse gutters outside.

Once the greenhouse was closed in and the final wiring and plumbing could be installed. This included the motors forthe roof and side vents, supplemental grow lights and general use lights, heating system and fans, and the motor for theshade curtain. Then the water was turned on and the cooperative team could begin to build the growing system andstart to crop test.