VEG OUT

Originally posted in @theU on Sept. 18, 2017.

By the Sustainability Office

While students are cramming for exams, working and completing homework, it can sometimes be challenging to find and afford fresh food. This semester, the Edible Campus Gardens and Feed U Pantry have partnered to place healthy, fresh produce in the hands of busy students at the Friday afternoon Produce Pickups.

U students with a valid uNID will find Edible Campus Gardens staff members and fresh harvested vegetables outside of the Feed U Pantry, on the lower level of the Student Union on Friday afternoons from 1-2 p.m., through Oct. 6.

Produce available for pickup may include huge heirloom tomatoes, basil, chard, beans, zucchini, rhubarb, cucumbers, herbs and more, all grown on campus and gathered by student volunteers and the Garden Stewards.

“Our goal is to offer fresh items for students at the food pantry. Everyone deserves local and healthy produce, students especially. I hope that the event only continues to grow,” said Jessica Kemper, Garden Program coordinator.

Supplying fresh vegetables to the university community is part of the mission of the Edible Campus Gardens. Produce harvested from the gardens is sold at the University of Utah Farmers Market and to different food vendors on campus. The gardens have historically donated unsold farmers market produce to the Feed U Pantry on Fridays in the fall. However, it has sometimes been difficult to distribute the produce before it spoiled.

When Kemper arrived on campus in summer 2017, she began working with the Feed U Pantry to transplant an idea from her alma mater UW-Madison that would get the produce in the hands of more students. This idea has become the Friday afternoon Produce Pickups.

In the first two weeks of the Produce Pickups, more than 20 students took 50 pounds of delicious vegetables home with them. Edible Campus Gardens staff members were also able to engage students in meaningful conversation about where the garden produce comes from, how to cook with it, and food resources available on campus, including the Feed U Pantry.  

“We are delighted to have fresh foods available through the Produce Pickups, and to help students become more aware of the resources the Feed U Pantry and Edible Campus Gardens have to offer,” said Nick Knight, executive director of the Feed U Pantry.

Current U students can check out the Produce Pickups for themselves and take home fresh, free vegetables. Don’t forget to bring your uNID (and a reusable bag) and head down to the basement of the Student Union this Friday from 1-2 p.m.

GROW FRESH FOOD ALL YEAR LONG.

By: Quinn Graves, Edible Campus Garden Steward.

Producing food in these final days of winter is hard enough due to chilly temperatures and low light. Put classes, schoolwork, job, skiing, and everything else we do and gardening goes to the bottom of the to do list.

Most posts about indoor gardening call for grow lights and controlled climates, but for many of us, we have neither the time nor money to set up a blissful indoor garden.

Do not fret! I’ve compiled three (almost) fool-proof foods that anyone with the desire to can grow food, inside, without grow lights or much effort.

Regrow green onions.

Green onions, among some other produce you may find in your kitchen, can be reused. If you use the top parts of the green onions, you can place the root ends in water and watch them grow. To do this, put the root ends of green onions into a shallow bowl. Make sure the ends are long enough not to be submerged (see picture). Every two to three days, change out the water and watch your green onions re-grow within a week.

When I regrow green onions, I only reuse them once. All plants need more than just water to grow and to provide nutrients, and if you regrow green onions multiple times, they will lose flavor and nutritional value.

Sprouting in a jar.

Growing sprouts is a great way to save money and to grow yourself a vitamin-packed jar of goodness. Check out this great tutorial on how to sprout seeds in a jar. Sprouting is super rewarding because a jar with a half inch of seeds will turn into a bounty of sprouts great for sandwiches, salads, or snacks.

Growing micro greens.

Microgreens are basically itty-bitty lettuces that pack a punch in the nutrient department. Growing microgreens is my favorite on this list. I love it, because I get to plant seeds in dirt and see the little greens emerge. Just like growing lettuce, but even easier! All you need is a little bit of soil, some seeds, a shallow dish, like a berry clamshell container, and a south-facing window to grow your greens in. This tutorial will give you guidance on growing your own microgreens.

There you have it! Three super simple, low-tech ways you can produce food in the warmth of your home.

Quinn is an undergraduate student and ECG steward studying Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Geography with an emphasis in biogeography and ecology. She loves to ski, venture around the world, and is a real-life garden gnome.

Cover Photo: “Beans day five- Kaos” by Lenore Edman is licensed under CC BY 2.0