Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Community garden brings new growth to UTSA

Community garden brings new growth to UTSA

Photo credit: Zane Nordquist, president, Green Society at UTSA.


(March 6, 2017) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is extending its sustainability focus with the new UTSA community garden. Student groups, faculty, staff and alumni can now grow their own fruits and vegetables to eat, share and reproduce.

"The students' motivations are diverse: to promote environmental sustainability, to take charge of their personal health, to ensure food access and equity for underserved populations—but their common passion brings them together," said Lindsay Ratcliffe, faculty adviser for the Green Society at UTSA. "What a great reminder that gardening is for everyone."

UTSA students began promoting the idea for a community garden in 2013. With additional input from the Green Society at UTSA, the UTSA Office of Sustainability and experienced home gardeners, the project finally came to fruition. Financed by the Green Fund, which assists the university's efforts in sustainability, the garden is a community effort.

"Our goal is to influence more people at UTSA to practice sustainability by planting their own food," said Anthony Govea, UTSA cybersecurity senior and Green Society project coordinator. "Students learn to grow food on campus, then apply that knowledge by planting a garden at home, further benefiting the environment and reducing waste."

Located on the southwest corner of the UTSA Main Campus near Brackenridge Ave. Lot 5, the garden features six raised beds. Five of them are 3' x 30' and each divided into three plots. The sixth bed is raised higher to provide wheelchair accessibility.

One of the plots will combine corn, beans and squash to serve as a demonstration plot for the others.

"Planting different crops together is symbolic in that the vegetables work together to be more fruitful and productive," said Govea.

The Green Society will provide seeds and training to help plot owners get started. Govea hopes the garden also becomes a gathering place for students to learn more about sustainability.

Govea said that organizers hope to host a farmer's market on campus in the near future to share the crops with the community. They also want to provide produce to the Roadrunner Pantry to share with students in need.

Several student groups have already reserved plots. Faculty, staff and alumni groups are also encouraged to plant if space is available.

- Courtney Clevenger

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Learn more about the UTSA Community Garden.

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