Creating the infrastructure we need to Safely Serve More Richmond Families
The washing and packing of veggie boxes for Urban Tilth’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program are critical and time-consuming activities that need to be done in a sanitary environment with appropriate health & safety protocols. Prior to the construction of our temporary wash & pack shade structures, these procedures were done in the open air. With the erection of two large 20 ft x 60 ft shade structures this year, we are now more easily able to comply with health & safety protocols while also washing and packing more efficiently…. All of which is especially critical during the Covid pandemic, when the delivery of healthy produce to local families is even more important.
The shade structures, erected with white rain covers for use during inclement weather, were purchased from FarmTek. Normally this sort of structure is supported just on the posts driven into the ground and anchored by tie-downs. But in our case, the structures needed to be able to withstand windy conditions at the site, and be functional for at least a couple of years. They are supported above grade with heavy K-rails donated by Ghilotti Brothers. Erection of the structures, including fabrication of special brackets to attach to the K-rails, was done by Overaa Construction, a local contractor.
The interior of both facilities has a gravel surfacing. In one we have specialty wash stations for the reusable plastic boxes (which get washed and disinfected with bleach), and produce wash stations including spray wash for root vegetables and tubs for leafy greens. Wash water is drained to a sump, from which it is pumped into a bioswale for infiltration back into the ground. The other facility is where boxes are packed with produce, and includes tables, weigh scales, and pallet packing stations. Handwash sinks are installed at each facility. The plumbing, wash stations, and drainage systems were installed by another local contractor, Madriz Landscaping.
These facilities will remain in use until the permanent wash & pack facility is constructed in the Main Barn of the ultimate farm. Construction of these long term temporary facilities was funded by generous donations from a variety of foundations and Covid-relief programs. Expansion of the veggie box program so serve an additional 220 families during the Covid pandemic was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
New box washing area
Box washing and new sanitizing tubs