Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.

27 responses to “How To Build A Walk-In Freezer”

  1. Kathy Detert

    Enjoyed reading your book. The forward by Joel Salatin was a nice touch. Will watch for your next publication. Thank you for showing me there is someone else out there that is trying to make a difference. Kathy D.

  2. ibberoo2

    Nice work documenting this ambitious DIY project, Forrest. Wonder if it might make a good piece for Acres, USA, with just a little tweaking. I’ll bet a lot of other farmers could benefit from it.

  3. Sheila

    Outstanding! THAT is what I call the perfect Asset. It’s going to change your world for sure.
    I hope you share any changes you make to it in the future. I would love to see how you use it, and how it functions when all is finished.

  4. ellen

    your photos are most excellent. really well explained. Want to come over and build a walk-in cooler at our farm next?

  5. Margie Kreitzer

    Well it looks like your ground is similar to ours. We are planning to run more underground water lines etc., and have considered purchasing a backhoe, used. Looks like the one you are using is a reasonable size and yet the ole jack hammer has come to the rescue. If we still have to use a jack hammer at times maybe a smaller backhoe would serve the purpose
    I.e. a terramite. Do you think a smaller unit would have worked for you?

  6. Kyle

    Just curious, as I am looking to have a similar project done myself. What is the average temperature at your location and what is the energy consumption per month for said temperature? Thanks!

  7. Kyle

    ^ The monthly energy consumption of the walk in freezer that is.

  8. Capers N Conn

    I Where did you get your walk in freezer door, haven’t found where to get one..We are looking to build a smaller version of your freezer. Enjoyed your site.

  9. Jeff

    Will you be running those eight fans all day and night? If so, won’t they use a lot of energy (>.1,000 watts?) and input a lot of heat into the freezer?

  10. Darles

    Do you have a moisture barrier on the exterior of your walk-in freezer? If not, have you have any problems with condensation rotting the wood? Any suggestions as to where to find the glassboard you used on the interior? We’re an intentional community farm looking to build our own walk-in freezer. Thanks!

  11. Carter Mckinney

    the Glass board is called FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) avalable at just ebout every home depot in several colors

  12. tomtekullefarms

    I would be interested in knowing the energy consumption as well.

  13. Daniel

    What is the R value per 1″ thick piece of the insulation you used?

  14. solomon

    Hi! i am planning to make my own mobile trailer freezer, looking into your project do you think i can do it as you have done and if so how will i construct the floor.

  15. kzozkumm

    How did you construct your door? Wood with spray foam intterior? Did you make it yourself?

    Also, is your spray foam closed cell?

  16. RichardViemann

    I work for a cooler manufacturer so I may be a bit biased but for the cost to implement this I think you would have been better served purchasing a cooler in panel form. I’ll state my reasoning.

    Your cost of 45,000 is about the going rate for a cooler this size if not higher for a finished cooler this size. The R value you state of 18 is what the spray foam starts at and will drop considerably as it draws moisture in. All foam regardless draws moisture. so no way around this unless 100% vacuum sealed… The amount of wood used in the construction causes problems as well allowing for mold, moisture, and swelling to take place all reducing your refrigerant efforts.

    I would pick a cooler manufacturer that used gaskete panels, no wood, and formed pre expanded foam less susceptable to moisture. I’m not doing this to promote my business so I’ll not mention it but our R-value never gets below 18 and starts at 28. Spray foam starts usually at 32 but within 8 years under most testing has been reduced to 8.

    1. Ed McNamara

      Richard – We are looking to do something similar. Can you tell me which company you work for? Thank you – Ed McNamara

  17. alex du toit

    can anyone give me info to build a batch freezer. i make yougert and would like to freeze it fast.

  18. Terryeh

    You really don,t state what the foam guys charged you, and I would be comparing that to “SIPs” Seems to me a foil faced 6″SIP is Almost R 40 and deals with the moisture ingress issue and much less R loss over five years. The last time I priced SIPs they were not that much more. You could spend the time saved to build an outer wall of just 2 x 4’s and vapour barrior. That air space makes your R 40 SIP full value and moisture ingress almost non-exsistant. And then since you are building an outer wall anyway, you don’t need full structual SIPs.
    Most SIP manufacturers are fairly local (like franchises) and could FRP one side like you did here. I know this is starting to sound a lot like walk-in freezer panels, but what a world of price difference! In my opinion, walk-in manufacturers really do see you coming.
    Or maybe they just didn’t see the SIP industry coming.

  19. Peter Herman

    I have a silo with nice access through the lower barn – I wonder if anyone has ever re-purposed a silo – sure saves on lots of the infrastructure – have to have flexible panels – but the concrete is already pretty thick. I rent freezer space now – but I should like to bring this asset home.

  20. Doug

    I was thinking about a combination walk in freezer and refrigerator, and I stumbled across your excellent article. I want an inside the house walk in, but on a (perhaps 1/5 of yours) smaller scale.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were about such a combo? Do you think it better to build separate cooling constructs for each section (assuming that one has to walk through the refrigerated section to access the freezer section) or perhaps just using a few well-placed ventilation holes in the freezer front to get refrigerator temperatures in the refrigerated section?

    In addition to this, I wonder why you erected the walls and then sprayed on the insulating foam, rather than building the walls on the ground and spraying them while they still lay horizontal. Done this way you could have had thicker foam insulation which would be nice and even throughout, and it would not run down the wall as it set. Was it because of weight considerations?

    I understand that I am perhaps being thick here and asking a stupid question, but it was just something that occurred to me as I viewed the pictures.

  21. Lina

    Hi – I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and effort to write this. It’s very helpful as we figure out how we expand!

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