Widgets Magazine

Greenhouses grow Stanford’s sustainability

Stanford Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) is in the process of expanding a dining hall greenhouse initiative, as a part of its Sustainable Food Programs. This spring will see an addition in programming surrounding the greenhouses, along with an expansion of greenhouse space.

“One of the goals of the program is to strengthen the farm-to-table connection by engaging students in the process of growing organic, nutrient-rich food for use in the dining halls and events around campus,” R&DE spokeswoman Jocelyn Breeland wrote in a statement to the Daily. “We do this in a number of ways; produce is grown in gardens adjacent to dining halls, indoor aeroponic towers at Florence Moore Dining Hall and in a greenhouse located in Arrillaga Family Dining Commons. We also manage two BeWell Community gardens with 150 plots on campus.”

The greenhouse program is funded through the money R&DE saved from a large-scale LED light retrofit in the dining halls. The greenhouses were installed in October of last year and are used to grow seedlings for dining hall gardens, which produce food that will be directly used in the dining halls. A smaller greenhouse is located at Ricker Garden and more greenhouses will be added to other gardens later this year.

“The greenhouses use florescent grow lights to start seedlings before they can be started outdoors,” Breeland wrote. “In the next few weeks, the lighting system will be revamped to increased capacity and propagation will begin for the spring and summer growing season.”

The greenhouse portion of the program is overseen by Silvia Torres, the R&DE farm and forage coordinator, who manages the gardens and greenhouses. Torres has a background running large-scale organic gardens in various universities as well as first- hand experience working on farms.

The program has no signs of slowing down, with the several additions of greenhouses planned for this spring.

“This spring will kick off a series of garden workshops in the greenhouses and gardens available to students, staff and faculty who are looking to green their thumbs,” Breeland wrote. “Students can also receive free seeds each month via our Seed Library or sign up for a plot in the BeWell Community Gardens.”

Students interested in participating in the gardening program can learn  more by visiting R&DE’s website.


Contact Arielle Osorio at arielle3 ‘at’ stanford.edu