University of Washington Farm Greenhouse

University of Washington Farm Greenhouse


UW Farm
Amount Awarded:
 $22,310
Funding Received:
 2013-2014
Project Status:
In progress, accepting volunteers

Executive Summary

The University of Washington Farm (UW), a registered student organization, would like to build a greenhouse at our Center for Urban Horticulture site on campus. The UW Farm is partnering with the University of Washington chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to plan and implement this project. In order to build a greenhouse, the UW Farm will need to level the ground at the Center for Urban Horticulture site, run electricity to the greenhouse, and equip it with benches and supplies for spring and winter vegetable production. Additionally, the UW Farm plans to install heated benches for seedling growth.

The UW Farm is currently renting a small space at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) greenhouse at a prohibitively high cost for only two months of the year. Building a greenhouse at the UW Farm will allow for a more flexible and productive planting plan, an extended growing season, and an overall increase in yearly production. A large portion of crops grown at the UW Farm is sold to Cultivate, the District Market and various other HFS locations. Extending the growing season with the greenhouse will allow the Farm to provide locally and sustainably grown produce to dining halls, restaurants and grocery stores on campus for a larger majority of the school year.

The EWB students will build the greenhouse from scratch. This will allow students to learn how to build a sustainable structure from the ground up, rather than putting together a pre-made kit.  The EWB students anticipate that it will be about $500 cheaper to build the greenhouse from scratch than using a kit. Additionally, the EWB students have decided to hire an engineer to run electricity to the greenhouse. The UW Farm will grade the site ourselves.

The student engineers and farm leaders will work in tandem, along with help from drop in volunteers and service learners, to build the greenhouse and develop a growing system. Each quarter, the UW Farm hosts between student service learners through the Carlson Center, farm leadership positions and the farm internship class.  Additionally, this grant will fund a greenhouse intern for a full growing season following the completion of the greenhouse. Professor Jennifer Ruesink, a biology professor at the UW, teaches the farm internship class on campus and has agreed to oversee the greenhouse intern. The EWB students are working under the advising of Professor Mark Benjamin, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington.

The UW Farm is requesting $22,310.00 to complete this project. The total cost did increase slightly from our original estimate however we were able to secure the tools for the greenhouse through other means.

Please see the chart below for a full breakdown of the costs. The total costs listed in the chart include an estimated ten percent sales tax and delivery fees. There will be no additional cost for utilities for the greenhouse or for the grading of the greenhouse site. 

Primary Contact:
Sarah Geurkink
sgeurk@uw.edu