The technology news site GeekWire reported yesterday that Microsoft may be in the market for rooftop greenhouses at the company’s Redmond campus. The technology giant is in preliminary talks with UrbanHarvest, a Seattle-based rooftop farming startup company, to evaluate the feasibility of rooftop farming at the corporation’s main facility.
UrbanHarvest was founded recently by University of Washington MBA candidates Chris Sheppard and Chris Bajuk. The two won first place on Thursday at the University of Washington’s annual business plan competition, where they received $25,000 to propel UrbanHarvest into the next stages of development. The company’s website does not yet show any built projects, which means that UrbanHarvest could jumpstart business with an extremely high profile project.
Microsoft currently imports produce from California for its cafes and cafeterias. Growing food within the campus would minimize transportation costs and maximize freshness for cafeteria fruits and vegetables. UrbanHarvest and Microsoft identified three buildings for evaluation: a parking garage, Building 121, and Building 122. Bajuk estimates that the Microsoft Farm will cost approximately $1 million to build, and construction could start as early as next year.
Rooftop agriculture could add a flare of freshness to Microsoft and propel the corporation’s sustainability initiatives to new heights.