FIRST LIGHT PROJECT STORY
In August 2012 Lois Davidson met Charlie Szoradi, CEO of Independence LED at the Upper Main Line Rotary Chapter. She presented a solar energy project for Sulayman Junkung General Hospital located in a remote location in The Gambia. The new solar installation allowed the hospital to effectively operate upgraded electrical systems, but the existing incandescent and fluorescent lighting depleted a significant amount of electricity from the solar system. That introduction and the ensuing conversations with Charlie Szoradi led to Independence LED’s donation of LED lamps and drivers that led to significantly improved performance of the hospitals electrical usage.
From this fortuitous exchange came the idea to expand the concept of First Light Project with a goal to provide high quality LED lighting to those who need it most.
Within 2 years First Light Project secured their their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and embarked on projects of their own. With support from Independence LED and other sustainable industry programs, along with the dedication of Executive Director Lois Davidson and the Board, First Light Project has been able to provide energy efficient LED lighting to hospitals, clinics and schools throughout under-served areas of the world.
Projects have included: 3 clinics and 1 hospital in The Gambia, Africa(Power Up Gambia), Clinic and its addition in Honduras(Serving at the Crossroads), CVIM in West Chester, PA(Community Volunteers in Medicine), a charter school in Philadelphia, PA and our LED Tubes are even on Mt. Annapurna, Himalayas at a Medical Tent on one of the summit.
First Light Project’s mission then, as now, was to provide sustainable solutions using current technology to improve the lives of people in under-served areas of the world. First Light Project’s work locally and abroad highlighted to the organization the need to integrate technology solutions into the broader context of community well-being. Now we are moving forward in our ever-changing world by re-focusing our mission and vision to include food and water insecurity.
We thank those who supported and guided First Light Project through its crucial early years, we are excited to refocus our energy and resources on our expanded mission and vision.
“Our goal is to create a network of neighborhood hydroponic vertical farms and workforce of 21st Century urban farmers”
FLP Farms is a model for neighborhood-based urban farms that incorporates hydroponic farming technology. These farms are designed to provide meaningful employment and healthy food options in neighborhoods that lack access to these necessities, 365 days of the year.
Growing Food as a Lever for Community Change
Our vision for First Light Project Farms is rooted in the belief that growing food can be a lever for community change. We see that growing food can have a positive impact on the environmental, social, and economic well-being and is a simple, yet powerful way for residents to rebuild the fabric of existing neighborhoods and communities. We envision the farms as being more than economic enterprises. They can be the catalyst for an ecosystem of food-related small businesses that expand economic opportunity. We envision the farms being a neighborhood resource where residents engage in community conversations about food, health, and prosperity. We envision the farms being a place that brings neighbors together to create stronger more self-sufficient communities.
Our farms will continually grow and learn from emerging technology, agricultural best practices, and local wisdom.
Our first farm is intended to demonstrate that hydroponic growing inside a warehouse is economically viable. The first farm is also plants the seed for future farms that in turn more fully explore a model for intensive urban food production.
The development of First Light Project Farm is a patient investment in community well-being that leverages long lasting generational change.
At its core First Light Project’s mission was to provided energy-efficient lighting to rural hospitals, clinics and community centers throughout under-served areas of the world.
By replacing fluorescent tubes with LED tubes and drivers our projects have reduced the operating costs as much as two thirds allowing the beneficiaries to divert those energy savings to their medical equipment needs.
Since its inception in 2014 First Light Project has provided LED retrofits to:
3 clinics and 1 hospital in The Gambia, Africa
1 clinic and an addition to the main clinic in La Entrada, Honduras
1 clinic in West Chester, PA
1 charter school in the Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, PA
1 orphanage in Haiti
1 medical station on a summit on Mt. Annapurna, The Himalayas
And Coming soon:
Retrofit of Southwest Community Development Corporation in Philadelphia which will also be used as part of a training program for local residents who are pursuing their electrical license.
P.O. Box 532 Blue Bell, PA 19422