This strategic, short-term position - the UW Farm Interim Education Coordinator - is available for a Graduate Student to learn, build capacity for, and advance the community-building, academic support, and food sustainability capacity of the UW Farm on the University of Washington campus.
The purpose of applying for CSF Funding is to expand the capacity for the UW Farm to support existing educational programs and to research potential partners to aid in the expansion of the UW Farm offerings, both academic and production. The UW Farm is creating this interim position for three years to support the continued development of UW Farm programs and reach more populations that are not included currently.
This 3-year proposal is designed to help the UW Farm develop the strategic capacity to permanently fund an Education Coordinator. This position is essential to the sustainable functioning of the UW Farm as to further support multidisciplinary academic, production, and community outreach programs which center inclusion and equity.
UW Farm Background
The UW Farm works to create and sustain farming activities on the UW-Seattle campus by prioritizing the following goals:
- Providing students with practical urban farming experience, from planning to production to the table.
- Creating a model of sustainable and resilient urban food production at the UW.
- Providing reliable, predictable, certified organic, and quality food-safety certified produce for sales, including but not limited to the UW Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and UW Housing & Food Services (HFS).
- Providing produce free of charge for other uses such as the Humblefeast, UW Food Pantry, student gleaning teams, UW Farm events, and fundraisers.
- Facilitating the growing of traditional foods and preserving of farming practices in cooperation with wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, the UW Intellectual House under the Office of Minority Affairs, including the Native Garden Plot at the Center for Urban Horticulture.
- Linking the practice of urban farming directly to interdisciplinary academic programs in the study of food, including but not limited to coursework, independent research, capstone and culminating experiences, and other experiential-learning opportunities.
- Being a positive neighbor to the immediate community by engaging with visitors and offering volunteer programs to both UW and non-UW individuals.
Currently the UW Farm prioritizes building an inclusive program - all students regardless of discipline are welcome at the student farm to learn and volunteer. As a consequence, students from all over campus participate in the farm! With the growth of academic programs which highlight food production, equity, sustainability, and population health across our campus, there has been a surge in student activity at the UW Farm. In addition to classes utilizing the farm directly, students are approaching the farm for independent study opportunities, and outreach activities through RSO’s like UW Farm, Dirty Dozen, ASUW Food COOP, Green Greeks, and Eco-Reps. Through these formal and nonformal pathways, the Farm provides a living laboratory for the campus community to learn, experiment with, and advance transdisciplinary sustainability.
In an average year, the farm hosts over 2000 individuals. These are students primarily, but also faculty, and even alumni and neighbors who share community pizza bakes utilizing farm fresh produce, attend workshops with no fees, and learn how to grow food sustainably through hands-on education at the farm.
With the continued growth of UW Farm programming, members of the farm staff and the Farm Advisory Committee - composed of faculty, staff, and students - have identified the need to hire another staff member. This person will help integrate and coordinate educational activities across the farm, allowing students, staff, and faculty to get the most out of our campus farm and the learning opportunities it offers. In this, the proposed position will support the environmental sustainability of the farm as a system. At this moment, the UW Farm and its single permanent staff member are overtaxed trying to meet production goals, partnership commitments, community outreach events, integration with existing UW course partnerships, and the steep increase in student interest and involvement. This position will allow farm staff the time they need to continue to develop and strengthen the regenerative farm practices that help make the UW Farm a shining example of sustainability on our campus.
Funding an Interim Education Coordinator at the UW Farm would bolster social sustainability by improving environmental learning, coalition building, and communication capacity across the university. The position would focus on inviting units across the university who might not be aware of the UW Farm and for whom the farm could provide services. Units that could be engaged would be: College of Built Environments, Arts and Sciences, Office of Minority Affairs, and others.
We envision that this position will help build a strong base of support across the university for the creation of deeper educational and curricular integration at the farm. In the pursuit of this, we will use this position to engage with multiple academic units and RSO’s to create a strong, interdisciplinary collaboration with new partners. These new partners will help us build a coalition of supporters deepening both our resources and our potential to develop new partnerships.
The UW Farm was certified organic and Salmon-Safe certified in 2020 and also practices regenerative agriculture practices. With the additional support of this graduate student position, these urban farming practices and food production methods will reach more students and engage more faculty in the possibilities of using the UW Farm as a practical demonstration of environmental sustainability. As a consequence, we envision that our work in food waste recycling, biodiversity enhancement, organic food production, environmental justice, and equity will be increased in visibility and impact.
Leadership & Student Involvement
One graduate student will be hired part-time 10-20 hours per week. This student will report to the UW Farm Manager. This student will write the CSF quarterly reports for the UW Farm CSF grant and help mentor student interns, student staff, and RSO’s. The Education Coordinator may also lead field trips, be a guest speaker for courses and other entities, and work with faculty to coordinate labs on the farm. It is essential that the student understand the educational programming of the UW Farm. However, the primary job of the student in this role will be to help strategize and support the creation of a coalition of departments willing to help create a longer term position to integrate academics more strongly into the UW Farm program.
Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change
In our vision, this position will help support educational efforts at the UW Farm with the goal of creating a deeper and more comprehensive plan for education and meaningful student involvement in this unique campus resource. As we see it, this position will allow the farm some additional spaciousness from which to approach its educational mission. The position will allow the farm to move from a reactive space - responding to need - to a proactive relationship with students, faculty and community members. In this proactive space, the farm will be well-positioned to sustainably extend learning opportunities with deeper mentoring for students and tighter long-term relationships with faculty and departments across campus.
Feasibility & Accountability
A key deliverable will be that each quarter the Interim Education Coordinator will write a written report to the Farm Advisory Committee, Deans, and Directors. This report will outline the progress made in the pursuit of a coalition to aid the addition of a permanent position at the UW Farm to support academic, community-building, and campus food sustainability programs. Additionally, the Education Coordinator will research and report on funding sources to sustain this new, permanent position at the UW Farm.
This is a multi-year proposal:
Year 1: June 2021 - December 2021
Year 2: January 2022 - December 2022
Year 3: January 2023 - December 2023
Hours: 10-20 hours/week on average
Position Start Date: 6/1/2021
Compensation: Master’s Student Research Assistant (RA) pay scale
A Master’s RA would make $2,436 per month at 50% FTE and have a benefit rate currently at 22.4%. The total cost would be $8,945 for salary and benefits for the quarter at their full 50%. The current on-campus tuition rate is $5,398/quarter.
Year 1: 2 quarters ($8945 + $5398) x 2 = $28,686.00
Year 2: 4 quarters = $57,372
Year 3: 4 quarters = $57,372
Total request for the three year grant:
$143,430 over three years