The University of Texas at Austin
  • UT’s Student-Run Organic Farm Blossoms

    By Erin Griffin, Alcalde
    Published: Aug. 7, 2013

    Students volunteer at the University of Texas at Austin Micro Farm.

    Students volunteer at the Micro Farm. Photo courtesy Micro Farm Facebook page.

    From collard greens at Kinsolving to spicy okra gumbo at Jester, dining hall menus are featuring some very local ingredients thanks to UT’s student-run Micro Farm. The 7,500-square-foot plot is located just east of campus behind UFCU Disch-Falk Field and is growing everything from eggplants to perennials. The first of its kind, the farm supplies UT’s kitchens with fresh produce and will eventually provide for a campus farmers market and donations to local shelters.

    Organic produce from the farm is for sale every Wednesday.

    Organic produce from the farm is for sale every Wednesday. Photo courtesy Micro Farm Facebook page.

    Students from all majors and backgrounds can volunteer by planting, building, and harvesting during designated farming times. The idea that started from the minds of students in an environmental science course here at UT eventually was passed on to Daniella Lewis, BAr ’13, who made it a reality last fall. “I’ve been working on gardens on campus for four years and found myself in a leadership position,” says Lewis. “It’s been a wonderful part of my university experience, just as beneficial as my academic path.”

    In July alone, the garden produced around 202.45 pounds of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. The farm is currently funded by the University’s Green Fee Committee and although it may not be large enough to feed all of UT, they are working to become self-sustainable by 2015. “At this point, the only month we’ve harvested was July,” says Lewis. ”We are setting it all up for whatever the future holds and it’s been a very productive summer.”

    From root to blossom, every plant is cultivated with organic and sustainable farm methods such as drip irrigation, crop rotation and a lack of pesticides. The leadership is made up of ecology, business and environmental science majors who are hoping to offer free harvesting workshops and basic gardening classes to students in the fall.

    The group works closely with UT’s executive chef, Robert Mayberry. “I know from personal experience that gardening can be deeply satisfying and rewarding, but it is not easy at first,” says Mayberry. “We have a window of opportunity with college students; working the soil can be an invaluable skill as they move into and through their adult lives so it seems like helping them learn to appreciate gardening is just the right thing to do.”

    This story originally appeared on Alcalde’s website

    • Quote 2
      amway ürünleri said on Sept. 4, 2013 at 5:55 a.m.
      Yes I agree with you Steve it is really great idea
    • Quote 2
      John said on Aug. 27, 2013 at 8:59 a.m.
      It really is unfortunate that the growing season is so short. Could you imagine how many more people in need, not just your local shelters, you could reach out to and help if only you could grow more vegetables and fruit year round. I think that "Steve The Light Man" has the right idea. Bring the garden inside and use hydroponics to your best advantage.
    • Quote 2
      Lee said on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.
      Its great to see this kind of community gardening returning, my parents used to feed the entire family from produce grown on our allotment when rationing was introduced in the War, and my mum still talks about how much healthier everyone was back then as a result.
    • Quote 2
      Steve The Light Man said on Aug. 15, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.
      Great idea but they are experiencing the same problems I do as a gardner. Only 1 month of harvest! You have to grow big and "can" the harvest to make it last...and that's a big job. But if it's expected to become self sustainable, what other solution do you have unless you move the operation indoors and grow using hydroponics or aquaponics.
    • Quote 2
      Jan said on Aug. 8, 2013 at 5:35 p.m.
      It is impressive to see what can be made out of a small idea. Is it planned to continue the project next year?
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