Tarta’s Farm in a Box


Photo by Alison Simon

These are small plants that are in the Crop Box. These crops are getting water from a sprinkler system within the shipping container. These crops will grow and then be sent off to people who need them.

In early fall of 2022, Holy Cross started to make plans to host a Crop Box outside the school. Brian Mulholland, from the John S. Mulholland Family Foundation, reached out to multiple schools in the area to find one that would be willing to host the Crop Box, in support of their charity food pantry.

When Katy Prebble, president of the Academy of the Holy Cross, received this offer, she immediately told Mulholland that Holy Cross would be interested. She recognized this amazing opportunity for the students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to service that will help others. 

“The Crop Box is a shipping box which was designed by Vertical Crop Consultants,” Alison Simon, science department chair, said. “It arrived at Holy Cross on February 17, and was hooked up to water and electricity. Then it was ready for its first day of planting on March 20.”

The Crop Box is a virtual garden with a sprinkler system throughout the shipping container. After the it was set up, teachers and adults were able to go in there and observe the plants. Students have not been able to participate in growing the crops yet, but they will in the future. 

“The hope is that a group of students will be able to do most of the daily maintenance of the plants,” Social Justice Director Maika Walker said, “Once the plants are grown, the students will be able to deliver the crops to the people who need them.” 

Holy Cross is a service-oriented school, which is why this is such an important project for them. This will be a great opportunity for the students to learn how they can help their community using science and technology. The students are going to be participating in this project to learn how they can take the materials they have learned in the classroom, and use it to help others. 

“The students in the environmental and science clubs will be able to go into the box and take care of the plants,” Eden Friedman, president of Environmental Club, explained. “It will be a great tool for learning about plants and the process of growing crops.”

The shipping container is environmentally sustainable and will be able to get plants to grow quicker, without any extra variables such as pesticides or environmental changes. This will help others who are in need of food and help the students serve others.

“This is all vertical gardening by a sprinkler system with a filter from top to bottom, which takes up less space and it grows the crops quicker,” Eden mentioned. “It is a step forward, and Holy Cross is one of the first high schools to have a Crop Box.”

Holy Cross was able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to provide a learning experience for the students, all while also helping to serve others and supporting the John S. Mulholland Foundation.