Our new vision for our farm happened as a direct result of the Covid 19 pandemic. Our organization had to pivot some of the things we were doing as far as live events and classes with our youth interns. We knew that we wanted to continue our mission but we had to adapt to these challenging times to be able to provide the community with direct needs.
One of the most important needs to any community is Food. We have been sharing food with the community for over a decade now and it has been both challenging and rewarding work. Since we started our small intercity farm we thought about how could we create a space where we can produce vast amounts of food on a small plot of land. That led us to think of growing food hydroponically.
So we will be upgrading our urban farm located at 19th and East Cherry Street in Seattle by installing a hydroponic “Greenery” or container farm that will give us the capability to grow almost 2 acres of food on a small (320 square foot) footprint of land, with an even smaller carbon footprint. The greatest feature for us is the ability to have fresh, free, organic food all year long. The food lab is housed in a 40 foot container and is a turnkey system. However, we have to prepare the land for delivery, set up and installation which includes grading, utility hookups for water and sewer and a new retaining wall. Additionally, we will be constructing a kitchen, paved gathering area, seating, greenhouse and clay pizza oven.
Participants will learn about ecology and the impact of climate change, culturally relevant cooking, entrepreneurship, and marketing by distributing the produce they grow to local restaurants, hospitals and schools. They will have opportunities to learn job skills, improve their and their communities' health, share food with people in need, and connect with and learn about the natural world.
Climate change and other challenges call for innovation in food production, especially in areas experiencing high population growth.
We are meeting that challenge by including The Greenery, a fully contained, turnkey hydroponic growing chamber, in our Cherry Street Garden Lab.
Capable of growing approximately two acres of food in a 320 square-foot converted shipping container using hydroponic methods, which has the following benefits:
- Water and other resources are conserved
- Food production is less impacted by drought, floods, and pests
- Crops can be grown year round
- Food is produced close to where it is needed most
- It can be scaled up to meet the needs of growing urban populations