GOOD TO GROW

Originally published in Continuum on September 17, 2018.

Jessica Kemper, coordinator of the U’s Edible Campus Gardens, shows off produce from this season’s abundant harvest at their garden east of Pioneer Memorial Theatre. Kemper helps organize more than 75 student volunteers, who work shifts year round composting, trellising, weeding, planting, and harvesting at both the Pioneer Garden and their plot by the Sill Center. Come fall, there is enough produce to donate to the Feed U Pantry, share with volunteers, and sell at the U’s Farmers Market, which takes place Thursdays just west of the Union Building from mid-August to early October.

Farmers Market by the Numbers

Each Thursday during the first seven weeks of school, the University of Utah Farmers Market transforms Tanner Plaza from a sitting area to a thriving community. For anyone who has walked through the space, it is easy to see why the farmers market is a favorite fall activity for students, staff, faculty, and community members alike.

The Double Your Dollars program returned for the fifth year, thanks to support from U of U Health. This program enabled students and SNAP recipients to purchase $1-for-$1 tokens that could be used on grocery-like items.

“It was a great year to be part of the market! Our vendors provided opportunities for students to take home community-based food, and with the Double Your Dollars program these options become more affordable for students” said Jessica Kemper, Farmers Market Manager

Here is a look at the successes of the 2017 season, by the numbers:

10 Seasons

10 Seasons
Picture 1 of 4

10 seasons of increasing access to fresh food and engaging local farms and small businesses. While increased access is still at the forefront of the market's mission, the market expanded this year to include more nonprofit organizations and campus partners.

 
 

USING NATURE AS OUR GUIDE: FIVE PLANTS THAT IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Katie Stevens, Sustainable Utah Blog Writing Intern.

Living in Salt Lake City, we are no strangers to air pollution and its harmful effects.  Breathing in toxic air can cause a range of health concerns including increased asthmatic symptoms, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and more.

It is no surprise that we often retreat into our homes to catch a breath of fresh air; however, sometimes our indoor air quality could be improved. Common indoor air pollutants include benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia. There are certain plants that can combat these indoor air pollutants, according to a study done by NASA.

Here are five plants that can improve your indoor air quality: 

  1. FLORIST’S CHRYSANTHEMUM (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  • Helps to rid the air of: Trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia.
  • Care: Keep the plant in cooler temperatures and keep the soil moist at all times. Requires bright light.
  • Toxic? Chrysanthemum leaves are toxic so keep this in a safe spot away from any furry friends and youngsters.
  1. PEACE LILY (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
  • Helps rid the air of: Trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia.
  • Care: Average room temperature is good for this plant. Keep the soil evenly moist and be sure to have a pot with a drainage hole. Bright light is recommended, but not direct sunlight.
  • Toxic? Yes
  1. ENGLISH IVY (Hedera helix)
  • Helps rid the air of: Trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene.
  • Care: Keep under bright light, preferably fluorescent. Soil should be kept moist spring through fall and a bit drier in winter. Ivy likes cool to average room temperatures.
  • Toxic? English Ivy leaves are toxic if eaten and can irritate the skin; it is always a good idea to wear gloves while handling this plant.
  1. BARBERTON DAISY (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Helps rid the air of: Trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and xylene.
  • Care: This plant requires bright light to full sun and thorough watering. Prefers cool to average temperatures.
  • Toxic? Non-toxic.
  1. BROADLEAF LADY PALM (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Helps rid the air of: Formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia.
  • Care: Keep this plant in bright, but indirect light. Soil should be kept evenly moist in the spring and summer and should be dried out between watering in the winter.
  • Toxic? Non-toxic.

I invite you to create your indoor air sanctuary with these plants and test out your green thumb this winter!

 

Cover Photo Via Pixabay CC0

 

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