For Graduation Donation, College Contributes to Two UW Farm Projects at CUH

For its annual gift to the graduating class this year, the College of the Environment is partnering with the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) to help fund two CSF projects at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH): planting pollinator habitats to create suitable habitat for local pollinating insects, and installing a composting toilet to support more than 180 student farmers and volunteers!

The College decided to contribute to these two projects based on the recommendation of its Student Advisory Council and a vote by graduating students. Read more about each project below!

Pollinator Habitats
This project involves planting and installing pollinator habitats at the UW Farm. Specifically, the UW Farm will design and plant a hedgerow along its southern boundary to create suitable habitat for local pollinating insects, enhancing the biodiversity of the surrounding Union Bay Natural Area and student food production at the UW Farm. The hedgerow will be composed of woody perennial plant species that will act primarily as pollinator habitat, providing forage, shelter and, most importantly, overwintering habitat for insects.

UW students who work and volunteer at the farm will have the opportunity to help plant the vegetation over the coming year. They will learn how to care for the habitats into future years: primarily trimming and maintenance of perennial shrubs, removing weeds that grow into the area, and planting replacement plants as necessary. Teens and young adults from Seattle Youth Garden Works will also be involved in the installation and future maintenance of the pollinator habitats.

The total award for this project was $750, and you can contact Nicolette Neumann with any questions.

Composting Toilet
The lack of a bathroom on the worksite at the UW Farm has negatively impacted productivity and disrupted workflow (individuals have to stop work and leave the site to use the nearest restrooms), disrupted programing on the farm, and especially impeded access to any bathroom on weekends (the nearest bathrooms are locked on the weekend, a time when the farm has routine volunteer hours).

So the installation of this composting toilet—arriving in a few weeks!—at CUH will help support more than 180 student farmers and volunteers working at the UW Farm, and more than 500 student visitors to the site annually. Yet the farm will not be the only beneficiary, by any means. An outdoor bathroom will provide an indispensable resource and greatly benefit a variety of community and university groups that operate adjacent to the farm, including neighborhood visitors to the Union Bay Natural Area and CUH during daylight hours; participants in the neighboring Seattle Tilth Youth Garden Works program; youth participating in other educational programs at CUH; student ecologists and volunteers doing restoration work in UBNA; and UW grounds and maintenance members who frequently do work in the area.

The total award for this project is $33,000, and you can contact UW Farm Manager Sarah
Geurkink with any questions.

Photo © Sarah Geurkink.

Water Seminar: Winter 2015 Schedule

This quarter, the Environmental Science and Resource Management Seminar will focus on “Water, Soils and Watersheds.” Professor Darlene Zabowski, who his hosting the seminar, gave the first talk this past Tuesday—our apologies for the late notice—and the subjects cover everything from the Elwha Dam removal project to Martian soils.

The seminars are open to the public, and you can catch the action Tuesday mornings from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Anderson Hall 223. Lots of SEFS representation on the slate, so check out the rest of the schedule below and bring your coffee for some terrific presentations!

Water Seminar_Winter 2015Week 1: January 6
“Introduction: Water, Soils and Watersheds”
Professor Darlene Zabowski, SEFS

Week 2: January 13
“Soil Organic Matter: from global cycle to local resource”
Jason James, SEFS

Week 3: January 20
“Soil, Water and Nutrient Management at the UW Student Farm”
Sarah Geurkink, SEFS

Week 4: January 27
“Water, Soils and Forests of the Pacific Northwest”
Kim Littke, SEFS

Week 5: February 3
“The Role of Trees in Modifying Water Chemistry”
Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds, SEFS

Week 6: February 10
“The Elwha River Dam Removal and Restoration Project”
Joshua Chenoweth, National Park Service/Olympic National Park

Week 7: February 17
“Soil Map of Vancouver, BC: What are Soils Telling Us”
Maja Krzic, University of British Columbia, Land and Food Systems

Week 8: February 24
“Life in extreme environments: Martian Soils”
Ron Sletten, Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington

Week 9: March 3
“Climate Change and Soils of the Pacific Northwest”
Karen Bennett, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region

Week 10: March 10
“Watersheds as a tool to study terrestrial ecosystem processes”
Helga Van Miegroet, Utah State University, Ecology Center

Farm to Table Dinner Sells Out, Draws Nearly 200

The UW Farm’s fundraising dinner on Thursday, October 23, was a huge success! Nearly 200 people filled NHS Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture, and the event raised more than $3,000 for the UW Farm.

Farm to Table Dinner

Guests took part in autumn festivities like pumpkin carving and cider pressing.

The menu, prepared and mastered by Chaco Canyon Organic Café chefs, featured the dinner’s guest of honor—farm-fresh local produce from the UW Farm, Nash’s Organic Produce and Alvarez Organic Farms. Attendees enjoyed veggie-forward dishes like squash and eggplant curry, beet and parsnip salad, collard greens, Field Roast BBQ and lentil dhal.

The Bitterroot String Band dished out bluegrass and old-timey tunes while guests dined and sipped on local microbrews and wine, kids (and kids-at-heart) carved pumpkins, and folks made herb medleys to take home from the fragrant herb table. There was even a cider pressing station where you could press apples for cider made on-site. How cool is that?!

Farm to Table Dinner

An assortment of delicious desserts were served.

The event’s success was largely due to UW Farm Manager Sarah Geurkink’s hard work and leadership. Geurkink garnered massive community support, securing donations from nearly all of the vendors—from the chefs at Chaco Canyon Organic Café and the brewers at Hilliard’s Beer, to the hundreds of apples donated by City Fruit and the produce from local farms, to the catering supplies from The Upper Crust Catering Co.

In her first large-scale event, Geurkink gathered both old and new friends of the farm for an inclusive opportunity to celebrate its achievements. She also wanted to share the program with folks who might not know about the farm, or who may have been curious but didn’t know how to get involved. She was thrilled with the turnout and the great show of community support, and would like to make it an annual event. Check out the UW Farm’s Facebook page to stay connected, or get involved in one of the many other events they host throughout the year.

Photos © Anisa Jackson.

Farm to Table Dinner_Herb Table

Guests assembled canisters of their favorite herbs to take home.


UW Farm Opens Weekly Produce Stand Along Burke-Gilman Trail

Beginning this Friday, August 29, the UW Farm will be partnering with UW Transportation Services to set up a weekly farm stand on the Burke-Gilman Trail from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The stand will be located just across the trail from the Husky Grind at the Mercer Court apartments.

UW Farm Stand

The Burke-Gilman Trail along the Mercer Court apartments, where the farm stand will be located.

You’ll be able to pick out fresh, hyper-local lettuce, kale, chard, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, beans, tomatillos, herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender), mustard, garlic and more!

The UW Farm is a campus center for the practice and study of urban agriculture and sustainability. It is an educational, community-oriented resource for people who want to learn about building productive and sustainable urban landscapes. All proceeds go toward sustainable farming education and student development, and you can contact UW Farm Manager Sarah Geurkink if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

So stop by and support a great program!

Photos © UW Farm.

UW Farm Stand