Starting last August and into the fall, approximately 20 student volunteers worked with Farm Manager Adam Long '13 to construct a new greenhouse on Pomona's Organic Farm. The previous greenhouse was 10 years old and was "was falling apart," according to Long.
Located on the East Farm next to the fruit orchard, the new 9-by-18-foot greenhouse took more than two months to complete. After taking down the old structure, the students started from scratch, digging the trench and then mixing, pouring and leveling the concrete base. Next they built the metal frame, placed plastic covering over the frame, and painted tables to be used for seedlings and projects.
The construction project was a new experience for the many student volunteers. "Sometimes I felt a bit lost in reading the instruction manual because I've never really built anything like that before, but we just took it slow, step by step, and somehow by some miracle it took form," said Nai de Gracia '14 by email. She has been involved with the farm since her freshman year.
Utsav Kothari '14 also worked on the farm this summer and fall: "It was really cool. I don't know how many people at this college have poured concrete, created a level, and built something on it. That's also a very valuable part of my education I feel."
Long, an environmental analysis major with a geology focus, worked on the farm throughout his time as a student at Pomona. He was hired as the full-time farm manager for the 2013-14 school year.
"Even though I spearheaded [the greenhouse project], the whole process has been working with students. It requires a lot more focus than just weeding a bed or planting seeds. It was stressful at times for everybody involved but I think everyone's really excited that it's done. It looks really nice."
Completed in October, the new greenhouse is a welcome addition to the Organic Farm and is already in use. "We need the greenhouse primarily to start seeds for later planting," explains Long. "We also hope to use the greenhouse to grow warm weather crops in the winter. Eventually, we hope that students and faculty can use the greenhouse as part of agriculture-related experiments."
"I volunteered to help build the greenhouse," explained de Gracia, "because I wanted to be a part of creating something useful and long-lasting for future generations of ‘farmies.'"
The Pomona College Organic Farm is a 1.2-acre working farm on the southeast corner of campus and the home of with fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, chickens, beehives, and the Earth Dome. The Farm has two distinct parts. The west farm contains mostly fruit trees, rock-lined plots and wandering paths, as well as the outdoor classroom, Earth Dome and chicken coop. The east farm has a second fruit tree orchard, more than 50 rows of crops, a banana grove, composting system, the new greenhouse and beehives.