Farming at the UW
Sarah Geurkink has a dirty job.
As the on-site staff manager of the UW Farm, Sarah has spent many an afternoon digging in the dirt at the Mercer Court site farm, one of three urban farms sites located on the University of Washington campus, where she coordinates the farm’s volunteers and overall efforts.
The farm was begun in 2006 with a small group of students, faculty, and staff coming together to start a small urban farm on campus - as a way to teach students about the impact of food choices and to demonstrate the possibilities of urban farming. Today it is the largest agricultural group on campus, with more than 600 members, comprised of students, facility and community residents, who volunteer at the UW Farm. Currently, about 70 crops are grown on the campus’s farm sites, with a portion of their organic produce sold to the campus’s cafeterias, with proceeds going to expanding the farm program.
The UW Farm uses only organic compost from Cedar Grove, which helps create a truly closed loop system. A loop that begins with Cedar Grove receiving all of UW’s landscaping clippings, food waste, and compostable packaging – processing the material in Maple Valley where it is turned into valuable humus for farmers and gardeners.
The impact of the efforts of Sarah and others in the UW Farm community has been considerable – transforming small underutilized plots of land and cultivating them into incredibly productive parcels – serving as both a learning tool and a great source of locally grown produce.
For more about the UW Farm, and information on farm tours, fundraisers and other events, visit the farm’s website at www.food.washington.edu/farm/