University of Washington Farm Greenhouse

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $22,310

Letter of Intent:

The University of Washington Farm, a registered student organization, would like to build a greenhouse at our Center for Urban Horticulture site on campus. We are partnering with the University of Washington Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter to find a greenhouse suitable for our site and set up a plan for building and installing the greenhouse. In order to build a greenhouse, we 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 growing. Additionally we would like to build a low cost and energy-saving heating system that heats the plants from below by circulating hot water through the greenhouse benches. Furthermore, we need to buy seeds to plant in the greenhouse and hire an intern who will serve as a Greenhouse Manager for our first season of using the greenhouse.

We are currently renting a small space at the Center for Urban Horticulture greenhouse at a prohibitively high cost for only 2 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 that includes winter months, and an increase in our yearly production. A large portion of crops grown at the University of Washington Farm is used by Cultivate, the District Market and various other HFS locations. Without a greenhouse, we have to almost completely shut down our growing during winter months, as harsh weather and frost make it very difficult to grow and harvest crops. Extending our growing season with a UW Farm 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. This quarter, 1937.58 pounds of produce from the UW Farm went to HFS and the UW medical center and 505.7 pounds of produce was donated to the University District Food Bank. These numbers will increase with a UW Farm greenhouse. The extended season of production will lessen the carbon footprint of the University of Washington community as more locally and sustainably grown produce would be available. The University of Washington currently hosts 46 students as service learners each quarter. Additionally, 12 students hold farm leadership positions and 3 students are enrolled in the farm internship class. We are confident that these numbers will increase over time. While the construction of the greenhouse will be directed by Engineering Without Borders students with their faculty mentors as advisors, a large majority of the farm leaders and some of the student volunteers will be involved regularly with building the greenhouse and developing a growing system.

The University of Washington farm is run primarily by volunteer labor; we only have one paid staff-member. Throughout fall quarter, work hours were held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm to 5pm, Tuesdays from 1 to 5pm and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30am, and every other Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Throughout spring quarter, a majority of these work hours will involve building and then planting and growing seedlings in the greenhouse. Volunteers and service learning students will learn hands on the benefits of a season extension and what goes into building, maintaining and working in a greenhouse. Furthermore, we plan to have a greenhouse intern for a full growing season following the completion of the greenhouse. Jennifer Reusink, a biology professor who teaches the farm internship class on campus, has agreed to oversee this intern. The intern would oversee construction, coordinate volunteering efforts, plan and implement a greenhouse planting schedule from spring through fall, maintain the greenhouse throughout the growing season and plan and implement a winter growing schedule. Students will be actively involved in most of the aspects of building and working in the greenhouse and build further connections between people, our land, and our future since food is so intimately linked in all those aspects of life.

The University of Washington Farm is extremely committed to carrying out and following through on our plans to build and maintain the greenhouse at the UW Farm. We have 7 Engineering Without Borders students committed to setting a plan for building the greenhouse and seeing it through under the advising of Peter Sturtevant, a Senior Civil Engineer with CH2M Hill, and Professor Mark Benjamin, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. The engineering students plan to begin work in early spring and complete the greenhouse project through a series of approximately six work parties, with help from University of Washington Farm students and volunteers.

We are requesting $22,602.72 for this project. We plan to build the greenhouse from a kit and add our own end frame augmentation. We will need $4,216.94 for supplies to build the greenhouse; $3,355 for greenhouse kit and $286.58 for the baseboards for the building foundation and $300 for pipe connections and miscellaneous tools and materials. Additionally, we will need $822.67 to build benches for planting in the greenhouse; $633.60 for bench wood and $189.07 for hardware cloth. We will need $5,172.13 to build a heating system; $2,056.37 for the pump/boiler integrator, $724.47 for a boiler, and $122.59 for pipes and pipe insulation. Additionally, we will need $1,030.10 for additional materials to augment the end frame and $133.18 for additional construction materials like screws and nails. We will need $4,731.70 to buy tools to use in the greenhouse; $39.50 for seed spoons (10 x $3.95 each), $3,950 for seed tappers (10 x $395), $358 for soil block makers (2 x $179) and $384.20 for bread trays for putting the soil blocks on (20 x $19.21). We are also requesting $6,496 to fund a greenhouse intern for the winter, spring and summer quarters following the building of the greenhouse. We need $1,160 ($10/hour for 10 hours/week) for spring quarter, $4,176 ($10/hour for 30 hours/week) for summer quarter and $1,160 ($10/hour for 10 hours/week). Finally, we need $500 to buy seeds for the greenhouse.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Sarah Geurkink