Dotting the I’s and Crossing the Ts of Sustainability: Moving Toward a Greener Agri-Fiber Paper Lab on an Off-Grid Sustainable Farm,” Student Sustainability Committee, $68,416 (2012)

Fresh Press Wash & Pack Pavillion at Student Sustainable Farm

Fresh Press Wash & Pack Pavillion at Student Sustainable Farm


Project goals:

Fresh Press (FP) is an interdisciplinary faculty and student research studio that explores the potential for sustainable paper production. Our goal is to develop entrepreneurial markets for paper product originating from locally produced agri-fiber and indigenous plant material.  This research involves developing new models, methods, and applications for the integration of agri-fiber paper as a viable alternative to wood pulp product.  Fresh Press seeks to shape and educate industry, steward the land we use, and investigate indigenous plant and agricultural fiber plots. By moving towards self-sufficiency, Fresh Press will become the model for small-scale sustainable papermaking, which can also be applied to a larger industrial practice.


The Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) has been a vital partner by providing the land to grow plant fibers, harvesting, and access to the newly constructed “wash/pack pavilion”. This was built by the Small Studio (SS), a graduate-level studio instructed by Architecture Professor Jeff Poss which tackles small-scale structure projects on-campus with a focus on sustainable materials and systems. The wash/pack pavilion was designed for vegetable cleaning and crating. Through this low-impact temporary structure, the SSF continues to support Fresh Press by providing space for cooking, storage, and drying of agricultural fibers. 


As this research partnership grows, so does the desire to move towards a more sustainable system design. From production to consumption, we have identified three sustainability targets (land, energy, and water) to minimize environmental impact and also to implement environmental building improvements.


The relationships between FP, SSF and the SS have been successful at developing and implementing interdisciplinary collaborations with a strong focus on student involvement and sustainable awareness.. This relationship has utilized student volunteers from SSF, graduate Architecture students, and sophomore-level graphic design students. It provides cross-disciplinary pathways for students/faculty/staff, continuing to enrich the educational/research experience that exemplifies the mission of a land grant institution.


This proposal asks the SSC for funding to establish experimental indigenous fiber plots, develop  small-scale energy independence, equipment for rainwater filtration, and complete the “wash/pack pavilion which will include an equipment storage shed. 


Total Funding $68,416


Project results:

With the guidance of Professor Jeff Poss in Architecture and his Small Studio students, over the course of two summers built the Wash/Pack Pavilion for the SSF and Fresh Press and installed the off-grid solar PV units. We also with the help of external funding landscaped around and built furniture and a deck onto to the back of the Pavilion.