Native Gardens at UW Farm

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $9,155

Letter of Intent:

Project Title: Native Gardens at UW Student Farm

Total Funds Requested from CSF: $9,155.00


Submitted by: Kamaka’ike/Natalie Bruecher, student and Perry Acworth, UW Student Farm, manager


UW Farm

The University of Washington Student Farm (UW Farm) is a student-run farm with three different growing spaces on campus. The proposed project would cultivate native gardens at a vacant growing space at the Mercer Court farm site, (plot 4.0) and renovate a permaculture planting at the Center for Urban Horticulture.


At UW Farm, our mission is to promote the study and practice of urban agriculture and sustainability. With this proposed project, we are working to incorporate food sovereignty values into our vision of sustainable agriculture. This directly addresses social and environmental aspect of sustainability.


Wǝɫǝaltxʷ - Intellectual House

The Intellectual House is a longhouse-style facility that serves as a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff. The purpose of the Intellectual House is to increase Native American students’ success at UW by preparing them for leadership roles in their tribal communities and the region.


Project Description:

The proposed project will be a collaboration between the UW Farm and the Intellectual House as well as other Native American groups on campus and in the community as we work together to design and plant two gardens of indigenous plants with significance in native food traditions.


Food Sovereignty is defined as “the inherent right of a community to identify their own food system”. As one step towards food sovereignty for the UW community, we hope to help create spaces where students, staff, faculty, and community members can learn about, grow, and consume traditional foods. While the details of garden planning and future events will be driven by our campus and community partners, we envision this project will incorporate educational events, community gatherings, art and storytelling. This project will be a collaboration between UW Farm staff/interns/volunteers, Native student groups on campus, staff and faculty partners, tribal Elders and community members. Campus and community partners will determine the specific design for the native garden.


UW Farm and the Intellectual House will meet with campus partners to discuss the development of this project, and to identify students interested in taking on a leadership role related to organizing and sustaining this project. We then plan to host tribal Elders at a larger ceremony, celebrating the creation of this space. When plant species are chosen, they may be purchased from the Society for Ecological Restoration Native Plant Nursery and local nurseries and seed resources.


Requirements and Preferences:

This project will contribute to biodiversity and restoration by reintroducing native plant species to the UW campus at two of the UW Farm’s growing sites. It will specifically focus on the reintroduction of edible and medicinal plant species, addressing social and environmental sustainability and issues related to food security.


This project will focus heavily on student leadership. UW Farm employs several student workers each year. The farm will hire a Native Garden Liaison position to work directly with members of the Intellectual House. The Intellectual House is able to hire students for Native Garden work. We plan to engage with Native American student groups on campus and envision this space to truly be student-created and led.


This project will focus on engaging Native American campus and community members to share knowledge, stories, song, and tradition among generations. The Native Gardens will also be the site for larger educational events that could bring in students from all backgrounds to learn about food sovereignty, indigenous foods, food security, social sustainability and the history of the Puget Sound land and peoples.


UW Farm has met with partners at the Intellectual House to discuss the feasibility of this project. With the Intellectual House and UW Farm’s ability to devote funds to hire student leaders, we can ensure commitment and continued work on this project in the future. Cultivating gardens on UW Farm’s space also ensures continued maintenance by UW Farm staff and student volunteers.


Timeline and Budget:

  • Spring 2019: Submit LOI to CSF committee.
  • July 2019: Hold community meeting/ceremony with tribal Elders and on-campus project partners. Lunch provided, gifts provided to Elders. Estimated attendance: 15-35 people. Activities - Storytelling, Educational activities, Initial site designs for Mercer Court plot and the improvement/renovation of the permaculture site at CUH. Estimated cost: $350
  • August & September 2019: Finalize garden designs, signage, educational content for websites, plan harvest and cooking events, educational materials design, production and harvest timelines, procurement of plants, purchase of hardscaping materials. Estimated cost $2,700 signage, educational materials, website update, $975 hardscaping, $400 plants
  • October & November 2019: Students, volunteers, farm manager and Intellectual house members install native gardens and signage at Mercer Court and CUH. A kick-off event will be held during Dawg Days with storytelling at the Intellectual House and tours of Native garden sites. Estimated attendance, 35-55 people. Over the following 8 weeks, the UW Farm will host 8 work parties to complete the work. Estimated attendance: 50-75 people.Estimated cost: Planting and installation $0.00. Storytelling and harvest event at Intellectual House $550, Harvest Event at UW Farm’s, Farm to Table event, $500.   
  • Ongoing, post project completion: Continued involvement of community partners and UW Farm students/interns/volunteers to maintain the garden spaces. Ongoing community events, medicinal and crop harvests and meals, that allow students involved in farming and sustainability to connect with and learn from Native People and learn about the cultivation and significance of indigenous foods. Estimated exposure due to the website information, permanent signage, annual work parties and harvest events: 40,000+ people Estimated cost: Future garden maintenance, plantings and activities will be absorbed into regular seasonal production for the UW Farm and Intellectual House programming. $0.00


Total Funds Requested from CSF: $9,155.00

  • Native Garden Liaison: 10 hrs./week during Summer and Fall quarters (23 weeks @ $16/hr.) $3,680
  • One-time purchase of materials: $5,475




Primary Contact First & Last Name: Kamaka’ike/Natalie Bruecher, Student Lead Intellectual House