The Cycle of Life: The History and Future of Concho Community Garden

Nature will always be our greatest teacher – a constant reminder that we are not separate from it or each other.



Early Summer 2016


The University of Texas Concho Community was established in the Spring of 2011 as a Green Fee project to serve as vibrant resource for the community by promoting gardening, sustainable agriculture, & environmental cooperation. Without knowing how much East Campus would change over the next 5 years, the students decided to cultivate life and community on ¼ acre parcel of land near campus that wasn’t being used. For a few years, the Concho attracted thousands of community service volunteers and people interested in becoming more sustainable by working with the environment. The garden became open space for the forging of a community that grew with one another, explored important environmental topics, and connected to nature through food.

In the Fall 2014, most of the plots that were installed were falling apart due to a sloped landscape, invasive Bermuda grass ripping them apart (our worst enemy!), and them being built with treated wood and nails. We decided to move forward with a renovation and start from scratch.


Amazing volunteers taking apart plots and clearing grass for new ones

In Spring 2015, we began to build new, durable plots with cedar wood (rot and pest resistant) that would be installed into the ground with 1ft stakes. But not too long after building our first round, we got news that Concho would be razed in the near future for the construction of graduate student housing. Thus, we wrote a new Green Fee proposal for a “pocket-garden” model on main campus, where mini-gardens would be scattered throughout campus. While we continued to move forward with plot building and wanted to make the most of what we had while we had it, soon after we got an update that Concho would actually be able to stick around for the next 1-2 years. So, over the next year, over 1,000+ volunteers contributed their time and energy to building and installing 40 brand new raised garden beds, sheet mulching the entire garden, and cultivating tons of fresh, organically-grown produce.

By the Spring of 2016, Concho was looking the best it ever had. In addition to the new plots, we installed over 15+ community areas, constructed 3 teaching plots, and had eliminated most of the grass in sight. Additionally, we started teaching weekly Garden 101 Classes where anyone could learn about gardening, environmental issues, and how to become more conscious consumers in exchange for service hours. Not to mention, we also taught 80+ children from the UT Child Development Center across the street for our long-standing Lil’ Gardeners program.


Unfortunately, the threat of being demolished circled back to us towards the end of the semester and it was confirmed that the Summer of 2016 would be Concho’s last growing season. Despite Concho and Microfarm leaders tirelessly advocating for the preservation of both of these student-run projects, UT’s large-scale development plans were prioritized, with Concho slated to be shut down by the beginning of Fall of 2016 and the Microfarm by Summer 2017. While this disheartening news is a reflection of Austin’s (and the world’s) loss of green spaces due to development, student leaders and the Office of Sustainability are working to secure a new student-run sustainable agriculture project close to campus. In the meantime, plots from Concho are being moved to our neighbors, the Microfarm, so that plot owners can continue to garden over the next year while long-term plans are in the works.

Top 3 pictures: Concho in the earlier years; Bottom 3 pictures: Post-renovation

My takeaway from this experience is that nature shows her resilience in many forms, and we have a lot to learn from her. Five years ago, the seed of an on-campus community garden was planted. Out of the depths of the soil, it began to rise, sprout, and flourish. The seasons changed and so did the plants; some returned to the soil; unwanted weeds were plucked; new seeds were planted. With spring showers and sunshine came flowers and we harvested the fruits and veggies of our labor. But in nature, nothing lasts forever. The flowers soon wilt, but they leave behind little bits of wisdom from the plant’s past lives that can be cultivated elsewhere: seeds – the ultimate representation of creation, hope, and promise for new life.


Check out this video to see Concho’s transformation over the last 5 years. Cheers to community, Concho, and creating new life!


I hope that UT will strive to promote its sustainability goals throughout the future by supporting opportunities in sustainable agriculture, getting students outdoors, and engaging our community in environmental service. Being Director at Concho for the last 2 years has taught me countless lessons from the plants, insects, and thousands of people I met at the garden. I am alway so grateful to have had this experience that allowed me to grow in all ways as a person, so I hope others will have the opportunity to channel this passion and do the same at a new location. While we’re losing the little green oasis that is Concho Community Garden, I know that all of the inspiration, knowledge, and awareness we cultivated will not be gone with it. We did it once, and it can be done again.

All my best,

– Lily

Eco-Friendly Tips for Dorm Life

Hey Longhorns! Welcome to UT, where we Bleed Orange. Think Green. The Campus Environmental Center has created list of eco-friendly tips for you to try this year on campus: 

  • Use a reusable water bottle – do not buy plastic, single-use water bottles. These water bottles are highly wasteful and consume a lot of energy! Additionally, there are few regulations for the water inside these. If you are still uncomfortable with using the tap, buy a water filter. For more information consider the economical, health and societal benefits of reusable water bottles: check out this link and this link.  


image courtesy of: www.selfridges.com/GB/en/content/project-ocean
  • Be a conscious consumer – everything has a carbon footprint. When you are purchasing food and goods, consider what all has gone into that product. Think about the packaging, how far that product has traveled, the amount of water and energy consumed, and what materials were used to create the product. All these considerations have environmental implications! When you are evaluating products, go for local, less processed, and organic. These products have required the least amount of energy, fossil fuels, and processing to reach you! For a conscious consumer guide, check out this website for questions to consider. 


image courtesy of: www.hometipsforwomen.com/wondering-what-green-products-are
  • Consider buying biodegradable hygiene, beauty, and health products. These products are chemical-free. This is important because everything that everything that you use leeches into your body, the water, and the ground. These chemicals do not breakdown, and can remain in the ecosystem for thousands of years. The affects of these non-biodegradable chemicals are quite severe, and hard to reverse. These alternative products use natural alternatives that are not harsh on the body or environment. Don’t worry! These alternative work just as well, if not better! This is better for your body, and the planet.
    • Face and Body brand to consider: Dr. Bronner, Burt’s Bee’s, Diva Cup, Kiss My Face, Tom’s of Maine. For more information on what to choose, how to choose, or why organic and biodegradable is important, check out these links: why biodegradablewhy its better for your healthhow to choose.
    • Cleaning product brands to consider: Method, Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, and BioBag. For more information regarding biodegradable cleaning, check out this link with what to avoid and what to look for. 
    • Many common household products are biodegradable and work great for cleaning (i.e. vinegar and baking soda). For some DIY biodegradable cleaning ideas, check out this link


Dr. Bronner’s soap  –  image courtesy of: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/dr-bronner’s-soap-and-whole-trade-guarantee
Tom’s of Maine toothpaste – image courtesy of: www.tomsofmaine.com/planet/overlay/abl-tubes


Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products – image courtesy of: http://www.organicbeautytalk.com/saturday-cleaning-with-mrs-meyers/
  • Drops need watts, so keep it brief. Every drop of water that you use had to be resourced, treated to remove bacteria, chemicals added, pumped, and chilled/heated. After that, it cycles back to do the same thing. This whole process requires a ton of energy! The less water you consume, the less water needs to be treated! If your dorm has a timer for the lights in the restrooms, us to time your showers. Otherwise, buy a timer to keep showers brief. Not only is this good for the environment, its good on everyone’s wallet too. For some brief reason on why to take short showers, check out this link. For some information regarding the water treatment process, check out this useful pamphlet.

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image courtesy of: www.thameswater.co.uk/cycles/pdf/WaterTreatmentPrint.pdf
  • Need something? – Always consider buying used before new. The more used products you buy, the less items are manufactured. Doing so requires less material to be sourced and consumed, less energy to be consumed, and less material to make its way into the landfill. It is also a bit softer on your wallet too! If you don’t buy used, consider buying higher quality products – they last longer, and lead to less waste. Good places to buy used include: Trash 2 Treasure salesCraigslistUT Buy/Sell/Trade/FreeBuffalo ExchangeGoodwill


image courtesy of: The Campus Environmental Center’s Trash 2 Treasure project team.
  • RECYCLE – Keeping recyclable materials out of the landfill means less raw materials need to be sourced for products. Recycling is super easy once you know what is and is not recyclable. This step is crucial! Sorting trash vs. recyclables makes the process much more efficient for the recycling centers. More efficient systems leads to less waste! For a list of what is/is not recyclable: check out this link


  • Need a ride? – Try using alternatives (biking, walking, busing, and carpooling). The less fuel you use, the cleaner you keep the atmosphere, which helps you breath better too! These alternatives are also softer on your wallet than just driving yourself.
    • Don’t be afraid of the CapMetro bus system. It is really easy to use – make sure you use the Google Maps app. They have a bus option for directions that is really accurate and super helpful!
    • Or use car-sharing companies like Zipcar, or car2go. These companies are really easy to use and pretty reasonably priced!
    • Need a bike? Check out UT’s Orange Bike Project for semester long rentals, daily rentals, and bike auctions! Or Austin B-Cycle can help with their easy bike sharing program.
    • For UT Austin’s PTS list of alternate Transportation: check out their website.

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image courtesy of: UT Austin’s Parking and Transportation Services
  • Join an environmental student organization. UT has a ton of ways to become involved with the green movement. This is a great way to get involved with people who have similar passions, learn more ways to be green, find great opportunities, have learn about environmental events on campus. For more information check out Hornslink


image courtesy of: the Campus Environmental Center

Try to implement a couple of these tips throughout your year on campus! For more information regarding any of these tips or ways to get involved, contact the Campus Environmental Center at director@utenvironment.org 

Why you should try vegetarianism..

As many of you have already heard, a meatless diet has TONS of health and environmental benefits. I want to share the top 3 things I love about being a vegetarian.

1.Experimenting with recipes! Unfortunately, a lot of people think being vegetarian or vegan means eating nasty tasteless food but I have to say they are completely and totally wrong. Many of my meatless meals focus heavily on using AMAZING spices with fresh whole foods. Here are some of my favorite vegetarian/vegan recipes:

You can’t go wrong with these websites

Minimalist Baker

Oh She Glows: Vegan Recipes by Angela Liddon

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
A simple vegan pasta that requires simple ingredients and just 30 minutes! A creamy butter- and dairy-free white sauce is infused with lemon and roasted garlic. Simple, light, delicious. See notes for adapting if you’re gluten free or not vegan.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan, Italian
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 bunch asparagus (12 ounces), trimmed and washed
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp)
  • 10 ounces (~5 cups) bow tie pasta (see notes if GF*)
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour (sub another thickener if GF*)
  • 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (for a subtle cheesy flavor | optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add asparagus to a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Top with several thin slices of lemon and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once finished cooking, remove from oven and roughly chop into thirds.
  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
  3. While the water’s heating, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 3 Tbsp olive oil and garlic. Whisk and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is just starting to brown.
  4. Add 3 Tbsp flour and whisk. Cook for 30 seconds, then whisk in almond milk 1/2 cup at a time. TIP: Use a large flat spatula to smash down the bits of garlic and flour to properly incorporate. Add a healthy pinch salt and pepper and whisk. Slightly lower heat and continue cooking to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Then drain and set aside.
  6. For extra creamy sauce, add sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend. Add nutritional yeast and another pinch of salt and pepper. If it looks runny, add another Tablespoon of flour (or cornstarch). Blend until creamy and smooth, using the “puree” or “liquify” setting if possible. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then add back to pan and continue cooking over medium to medium-low heat to thicken.
  7. Once your sauce has reached desired thickness, add the juice of half a lemon and stir.
  8. Add 3/4 of the chopped asparagus and the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
  9. Divide between 2-3 serving plates and top with remaining asparagus. Serve with a lemon wedge and vegan parmesan cheese.
  10. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
courtesy of: http://minimalistbaker.com/
Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free
Get ready to pack a ton of veggies into one irresistible, healthy meal! If you haven’t tried my lentil-walnut taco meat, this is a great recipe to do so. It’s high in protein, and the taco seasonings and chewy texture create a realistic-tasting taco base. Feel free to use tortilla wraps or corn shells instead of lettuce wraps to change it up, or you can make this recipe into a big salad, too. You can save time by cooking the lentils and prepping the taco meat in advance (or simply use canned lentils). This recipe is inspired by Minimal Eats taco wraps. The lentil-walnut meat is adapted from the from the The Oh She Glows Cookbook (page 186).
  • 1 cup uncooked French green lentils (you will use 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils)*
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Cashew Sour Cream
  • Diced tomatoes or salsa
  • Green onion
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Lettuce wraps (large romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce leaves)
  • Other topping options: sliced avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, etc.
  1. Cook the lentils: Rinse lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Add to a medium pot along with a few cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender (cook time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use—see package). Drain off excess water.
  2. Toast the walnuts: Preheat oven to 300°F. Add walnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 13 minutes, watching closely, until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Sauté the pepper and onion filling: Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oil into a large skillet or wok. Cook the onion and peppers over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring frequently, until translucent.
  4. Prepare the taco meat: Add 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils (you’ll have some leftover) and all the toasted walnuts into a food processor and pulse until chopped (make sure to leave texture). Stir or pulse in the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir in the oil and the water until combined.
  5. Prepare the rest of your vegetable toppings and wash and dry the lettuce wraps.
  6. Assemble: Add a large lettuce leaf onto a plate, top with taco meat, sautéed peppers and onion, and the rest of your desired toppings.
  7. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in sealed containers to be enjoyed the next couple days. The cashew cream will keep for at least a week in the fridge. Use sour cream leftovers on sandwiches, wraps, stirred into salad dressings, on vegan nachos, or with chili or soup.
courtesy of: http://ohsheglows.com/
2. Cruelty free ingestion:  A large majority of the meat industry is based on factory farming. This type of operation creates horrendous environments for the animals. They are typically jam packed in small areas and many never even see daylight. You are not only supporting a better life for animals but for yourself as well. A vegetarian or vegan diet means caring for your body. The average American’s intake of meat is causing a multitude of health issues. I won’t go into details but you can learn more from these documentaries: 
3.Reducing my footprint and saving the Earth. COWSPIRACY! This doc changed my life and I highly, I mean HIGHLY recommend you watch it. It explains very clearly how eating meat negatively affects our environment.
If you don’t already eat a meatless diet I hope I have provided some insight into how fun and awesome it can be!
Peace, love and veggies

Composting Like a Pro

Composting is the practice of using naturally occurring micro- and macro-organisms to break down organic materials such as plant matter, food scraps, and some packaging products into nitrogen-rich fertilizer for soil. Integrating compost into soil mixes reverses soil nutrient depletion and can reduce the overall impact of farming and gardening activity on a piece of land.

Starting this year, businesses and restaurants in Austin will be required to compost food scraps and other compostable materials. Considering the fact that Americans waste 40% of the food available to them, this is great news. Diverting food waste to compost is one method of reducing the overall waste put in landfills and reintroducing vital nutrients into the ecosystem.

However, there are some important do’s and don’ts when it comes to composting. Putting the wrong materials into a compost bin can contaminate the compost. For example,when non-biodegradable plastics are put through a composting process, the compost that is ultimately generated will contain small granules of plastic. These bits of plastic wash out of gardens and farms during rainstorms and eventually pollute the ecosystem.

In addition to all campus dining halls, Halal Bros on the Drag offers separate bins for collecting compostable materials. Hopefully, other establishments will soon follow suit. As you encounter composting receptacles at these locations and others around campus and Austin, keep these pointers in mind to make sure what you throw into that “Compost” bin is actually compostable:

  • All compost operations (both backyard and industrial) can handle raw vegetables and fruits, other plant matter, and coffee grounds and filters.
  • Industrial composting operations (restaurants, dining halls) can also accept eggshells, meats, bread,  and cooked foods.
  • If disposable dining products (paper plates, napkins, even some plastics) are labelled as compostable, they can be composted by industrial composting operations.
  • Paper products that have a plastic lining (soda cups, coffee cups, some paper plates, milk and juice cartons, juice boxes) cannot be composted. These products will contaminate the compost stream.
  • Other plasticware, packaging, or trash not labelled as compostable should not be composted. Consider recycling these products instead.
  • Remember — a compost bin is not the same thing as a trash can.

Keep these pointers handy and continue to educate yourself about composting. To go a step further, you can begin a compost pile in your dorm or apartment with the help of this graphic. By working together, we can reduce our food waste and return beneficial nutrients to gardeners and farmers, both large and small.


Tackling Zero Waste: Tiny changes to make a difference

The University of Texas at Austin has a zero waste goal: to achieve 90% waste diversion from landfills by 2020. This means that by 2020, the campus wants to ensure that 90% of the waste generated can either be recycled or compost. And, achieving that is no simple feat!

Here are some five, little changes you can do that will make a big difference in our campus!

1. Get a Starbucks Reusable Cup!

A lot of people think that one cup doesn’t make a big difference, but if you do the math, you’re actually making a big difference! Consider this: Let’s say an average student buys 3 cups of Starbucks coffee in a week, which is about 36 cups in a semester. Even if only a third of the students at UT belong to that category, the campus throws away 600,000 cups! USE REUSABLE COFFEE CUPS! It really helps.

2. Aluminum Foil is Recyclable

A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that Aluminum foil is in fact one of the most recyclable materials. So, don’t forget to recycle the aluminum foil after you have your breakfast tacos!

3. Use a reusable Water Bottle

The average American consumes an enormous 167 bottles annually. Reusing water bottles can make a big difference!

4. Eco2Go

The Division and Housing and food has an ongoing reusable takeout container program, Eco2Go. By paying $5, people can get a ‘coin’ to collect a reusable takeout container for their food at Jester City Limits, Littlefield Patio Cafe or Cypress Bend Cafe, instead of using disposable containers. Participants also get a 5% discount per meal!

5. Compost

Most trash cans in and around campus have compost bins. If you have any food waste, remember that you can dispose it in the compost bins!

Fun with Vermaculture

Have you ever wanted to compost your own food in the comfort of your home or apartment? Verma-composting is an easy way to do just that. A vermaculture is a closed ecosystem that uses red wiggler worms to break down vegetable scarps.

To make your own at home you will need:

  • 2 identical 5 gallon containers with lids
  • 500-1000 red wigglers (worms)
  • a drill
  • cardboard
  • soil
  • newspaper
  • vegetable scarps

Take both 5 gallon containers and drill air holes  on all sides 1/4 of an inch from the top of the container and 1 inch apart. These holes should be 1/8 inch in diameter. Additionally drill wholes on the bottom of both containers 1/4 an inch in diameter and 1 inch apart. In one of the containers put a layer of damp cardboard on the bottom of the container. Put the second container inside the first so that the cardboard holds the second container up so there is room between the containers.  In the top container put a mixture of soil and a mix of shredded cardboard and shredded newspaper. This mix should be 1:1. Add your worms and vegetable scraps. Wet the mixture and  mix the mixture gently. Add water and mix the container every few days. Add vegetable scraps regularly.

The worms will the break down the vegetable scraps and the newspaper/cardboard creating a compost soil that will fall into the bottom container. The worms will also produce a “worm tea.” This liquid can be diluted with water and used as a liquid fertilizer.


Is Public Transportation Actually That Environmentally Friendly?

One Friday afternoon I found myself sitting alone on a large city express bus. Stop after stop no one got on and for about ten miles I was the only one on the entire bus route. I started thinking am I actually saving that much energy by taking public transportation instead of driving a car? A major rationale supporters of mass transit use is that by reducing our output of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, transit can help save the environment. However, when you think about empty or underutilized transit that may not be the case. At any given time, the average auto has around 1.6 passengers, the average (40-seat) bus has only 10 and rail vehicles has on average 25. The average load factor (percentage of seats filled) is also not that high 46 percent for heavy rail systems and 24 percent for light rail. According to the Department of Energy’s Transportation Energy Data Book, in 2010 transporting each passenger one mile by car required 3447 BTUs, bus required 4118 BTUs and rail transit was a bit greener at 2520 BTUs. However when you also take into account the source of transit’s energy it is usually electricity for rail and natural gas for buses, both sources are produce fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline. Also when you take into account the environmental costs of building the vehicles and infrastructure they produce slightly fewer pounds of CO2 than autos.

Trying to increase ridership by adding transit service will not help the situation since new service promises would reduce transit’s already less-than-spectacular load factors and result in largely empty vehicles. Most high density cities like New York and San Francisco already have robust transit systems and expanding to other low density cities just doesn’t make sense. For example the heavily used New York subway system (58 percent seats typically filled) produces .171 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile, less than 1/3 the average for cars nationwide. The much more lightly used Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Memphis light rail systems actually produce considerably more CO2 per passenger mile than cars.

Despite these grim facts all hope on public transit systems should not be lost. If travelers can be persuaded to leave their cars and ride existing transit services, rather than create new services, the environment will benefit greatly. Given its current low load factors, transit generally has plenty of capacity to absorb new customers with practically zero additional energy expenditure. It makes more sense for cities to create push or pull factors to increase ridership than building infrastructure and buying vehicles. Cities can give fare discounts to pull riders to ride transit or push factors like gas taxes, congestion tolling, or charging market rates for street parking to help raise push people away from cars and/or increase auto efficiency through incentives for carpooling.

So to answer the question that arose from my lonely bus ride in Austin, yes it is good to ride the bus or metro, but only if it already exists. In cities like Austin that are low density with high sprawl doesn’t make sense to create lots of new bus/metro routes unless the city can be absolutely certain that there will be a high load of users. Instead we should all put in the effort leave our cars and take the transit that is already there for us to use (click here to find the most convenient metro route for your trip). Hopefully, more people will catch on to the public transit bandwagon and I will never find myself alone on the bus again.

(Economic Info from Freakonomics)

–Juhi Amodwala, Green Offices Program Coordinator


What’s Happening With Green Greeks

Hey y’all! The Green Greeks Committee has been meeting for the past few weeks to discuss our initiatives for the rest of the semester. We’ve got a bunch of ideas being bounced around and are excited to bring some of those to life in the next few weeks.


A few weeks ago was our first west campus cleanup of the semester. The day started with some coffee, breakfast tacos, and getting to know each other. We had a great turnout and collected a dozen bags of garbage and recyclables. People split off into groups and walked around campus picking up trash around the streets, on the Drag, and by the greek houses and apartments. Everyone really enjoyed it, and we can’t wait to hold another cleanup in about two weeks. We hope everyone can make it and look forward to topping our previous turnout!


We are currently looking into ways to integrate the Green Greeks Committee with greek events, such as roundup. We are excited about the possibilities of making this weekend-long event more sustainable. Some ideas we have thrown around include recycling bins – perfect for the crawfish boils, providing the houses with compostable cups and other items, and finding ways to clean up the garbage after the event.

Some other ideas we’ve had about getting the Greek system more involved with sustainability is holding some sort of competition among the houses and organizations, from who can waste the least electricity to who can recycle the most. These ideas will be discussed in further detail for the coming semester.

Going Forward

Some other ideas we look forward to implementing are making recycling kits to give to the houses and other Greek organizations, as well as making stickers to put next to light switches reminding students to turn them off if they are not in use. We also are looking into which houses already have recycling systems in place, and which houses still need this service.

Green Greeks has been doing so many exciting things lately, we cannot wait to see what we come up with next!

Farming Update

Hello Campus Environmentalists,

Jake here from the Microfarm.

For this blog post, I’ll give y’all a little update about what is going on with student involvement in food production and distribution here at UT.


We are still holding weekly Microfarm stands in the west mall from 3pm-5pm on Mondays, and we also have two workdays per week; Thursdays from 3pm-5pm, and Sundays from 9am-12pm. We are working on growing our own seedlings in one of the greenhouses on campus, which have just begun to germinate and sprout. Keep up to date on our blog and come help out at a workday!

UT Farmstand

The first ever UT Farmstand was held last week, and it was a resounding success! While throughout the 5 years Microfarm has existed we have held our own direct-sale farm stand, originally at the farm and currently in front of the FAC on Mondays from 3pm-5pm, the UT Farmstand project is a Green Fee funded project that is along the lines of a traditional farmer’s market. Their model is based on buying produce from local farms, including Microfarm, and then reselling it on campus. They also featured fresh baked bread and t-shirts, bags, and stickers that you can sport to help get the word out. They are holding four more this semester, so don’t hesitate to ‘like’ their Facebook page to keep up to date. The next four will be held on March 31, April 13, April 27 and May 5. This project is especially exciting because of the support it has garnered from DHFS. The more they get involved with local and healthy food initiatives the better off we will be!

Farm to Work

As always, Farm to Work, a program of the Sustainable Food Center, is available. As long as you get your order in by 5pm on a Monday, you can pick up a weekly basket of fresh, seasonal produce on that Wednesday from one of two locations on campus. One of the things I love about this program is the way it can get you cooking with ingredients you may not be familiar with. The produce comes from local farms, and the boxes are 20 bucks. Think of it as a week to week CSA.

Concho Community Garden

Concho Community Garden had their 5 year anniversary picnic and party last weekend. They hold their volunteer work days on Wednesdays from 3:30pm-5:30pm and Saturdays from 10am-12pm. Contact them at gardening@utenvironment.org if you are interested in getting involved or renting a plot.

Green Fee Update

One last little update independent of farming and gardening is that the inclusion of the Green Fee passed last week. The Green Fee Committee is working on putting together a proposal for President Fenves, and as updates become available be assured that they will be posted on the CEC Facebook page.


Benefits of Urban Green Space

Have you ever thought of the benefits of urban green spaces? These spaces range from small parks to grand ones like Central Park. Other than parks they include rivers, creeks, walk ways, and any other green areas in the city. All these places in the city give us and the environment many benefits.


For starters, they offer us a place to go for fresh air and to get away from the busy city life. Green spaces offer mental and physical benefits by removing us from the stressful urban environment. Green spaces create areas in the city where its calm, peaceful, natural, and more open, which could be an important amenity to have for those living in the city. They also provide us with spiritual and aesthetic amenities


Green spaces are also linked to positive growth and health. Having access to green spaces increases the amount of interaction between people and nature. There we do more exercise and have more fresh air. This is specifically important for young children’s development. It is important for a child’s development both physically and mentally to have access to and to use green spaces.

SITES Wildflower Center Example

Green spaces are also important for the environment. Having urban green space lowers temperatures in the city by lowering the heat island effect caused by the built environment. Green spaces are also ecologically important. They provide  biodiversity and ecosystem services. The less green space available in cities tends to cause more impervious cover that causes flooding and pollution of natural rivers and creeks.

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Its important that we take care of and add to urban green spaces. Austin is a lucky city to have access to many green spaces. Remember to take time from your urban life and go experience Austin’s green spaces to live a healthier life.