Urban Farm and Garden

Sandwiched between Crawford and Bellevue Avenue sits our West Court and Urban Farm and Garden. The lot is a multi-use space, providing a half-basketball court for students to enjoy under the sun. The other half, combined with the adjacent lot, is the Urban Farm and Garden, which was designed and built by students spring of 2017. During the design process, students in the Environmental Interest Group solicited feedback from each grade level as well as faculty. The end result is an outdoor greenspace on campus for the community to use as both a classroom and a gathering space.

The Urban Farm and Garden includes thirty planter boxes, a greenhouse, multiple composting systems, a “treezeebo,” picnic tables, and a geodesic dome seating area. This space is ever-evolving, and is intended to be a student-managed outdoor lab, creative space, demonstration space for sustainable urban agriculture practices, and food producing space on campus.

A small group of student Farm and Garden Managers, along with students in the Environmental Interest Group and three Environment Program teams, maintain and care for the farm and garden.

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At a Glance

  • The Farm and Garden is student designed, built, and managed.
  • Over 300 students actively helped design and build the Farm and Garden.
  • The Farm and Garden offers summer internships for high school and college students.
  • Thirty planter boxes provide 3,000 square feet of growing space
  • Over twenty varieties of fruits and vegetables are in cultivation throughout the year.
  • The harvest helps supply the Dining Hall Program with delicious, fresh vegetables.
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A Space for Gardening

The Urban Farm and Garden has 30 raised beds, allowing for space to grow anything from cucumbers to Thai chili peppers. The garden helps provide vegetables and herbs for the dining hall throughout the year. Students in the Environmental Interest Group work together to maintain and water the raised beds throughout the school year and the summer.

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Room to Grow

A greenhouse helps provide shelter from the winter elements for year round gardening. The greenhouse, the gazebo, and the 30 raised beds were all constructed by Northwest School students, parents, and faculty members during the spring of 2017. The Environmental Interest Group solicited feedback from each grade level of students during the design process of the Urban Farm and Garden.

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A Canvas for Students

Students at The Northwest School have already left their visual mark on the Urban Farm and Garden. Public Art students painted worms onto the sides of the raised beds, and students decorated rain barrels during the opening celebration of the space. Former Public Art teacher Curtis Erlinger provided the highlight of the Urban Farm and Garden when he converted an old basketball backboard into a sunflower overlooking the entire space.

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Placemaking Through Art

The West Court is flanked by two portico gate entrances. Each gate is adorned with a ceramic tile frieze, created by former Northwest School ceramics faculty Karla Leiberman and three classes of Upper School students. The tiles are themed "Unity in Diversity," reflecting our global student body. Professional tiler Don Fife donated his time to help seal the friezes to protect them from the elements. According to an article published by the Daily Journal of Commerce in April 1994, the school’s Capitol Hill neighbors agreed, saying “the open space has turned into a living part of the local street scape.”