Interdisciplinary smartFARM brings global impact

Harvesting at the WSU organic farm. (WSU Photo Services)
By Tina Hilding, College of Engineering and Architecture, and
Brian Clark, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN – The Organic smartFARM project harnesses interdisciplinary teamwork to design sustainable systems into the organic farm at WSU Pullman.
With preliminary funding from a National Science Foundation grant, the project promotes hands-on learning that will result in a replicable model adaptable for others to use worldwide.
Artist’s rendering of a green building,
courtesy of CAHNRS.
Students participate from a variety of disciplines, including architecture, construction management, crop and soil sciences and engineering. They are developing living quarters, offices, a commercial kitchen, teaching facilities and greenhouses that make the best use of energy while minimizing water and fertilizer use. Pest control and plant and animal management are incorporated.
In the farm plan, sensors will regulate energy use; rain water will be collected and reused; garden waste will be recycled for heating and fertilizer; greenhouse heat will be recirculated; and solar energy will be incorporated.
The farm design will be flexible so new technology can be incorporated as it becomes available.
The project “is part of an effort to better prepare students for the workforce they will soon encounter, and to encourage faculty knowledge in the area of sustainability,” said Mike Wolcott, professor, primary investigator on the grant and director of the WSU Institute for Sustainable Design.
“What better place to begin our efforts to design, teach, research and learn practices in sustainable design than at WSU’s organic farm?”

Read more about the smartFARM in articles from the College of Engineering and Architecture and the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

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