Fun Urban Farming and Sustainability Projects Around Austin

Hey y’all!

Thanks for reading the blog today to learn more about sustainability!

I’m Dominique and I work for the UT Microfarm, which is one of the side projects of the Campus Environmental Center. Over the last year, I’ve been the Farm Manager, and now I’m the Development Director, and it’s been a wild ride! Even though I came in knowing how to grow food, the learning curve has been steep and rewarding. Before working for the Microfarm, I had been enmeshed in gardening for the last 7 years, ever since I took on a project to start a community garden in my backyard when I was living on half an acre in East Austin.

When I made the choice to start that garden, my life was forever and deeply changed, and I started meeting the most wonderful network of people who are passionate about growing plants for food and health, and being a contribution to a more sustainable community environment! Today I’d like to share with you some information on a few of these people and organizations, and the exciting things they’re up to!

Urban Patchwork: When I first got the idea of starting a community garden in my backyard, the universe brought into my life an amazing woman: Paige Hill Oliverio. She was a wonderful resource as I was learning, and she helped me get through my first year as a novice gardener. She taught me how to save tomato seeds, a technique I’ve used ever since! Around that time, she started Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms, or UP. The organization first sought to increase awareness of agriculture and fresh food in urban areas by helping neighbors work together to turn underutilized front and back yard spaces into food producing fields for community use! Now UP helps communities create permanent neighborhood food systems planting perennial vegetable plants, fruit, and nut trees on every city block. Join the conversation on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UPFarms

Whirlaway Farm and Garden: My very good friend, Francesca Hernandez, started this farm just a few short years ago, with a dream of living in a yurt, growing food, and raising ducks, geese, chickens, other fowl, and GOATS! Needless to say, her dream came true, and as the farm grows, she continues to rise to the challenge. Every few months she will host a gorgeous gourmet dinner, the most recent of which I attended as a volunteer, and which was the most memorable meal of my life! Learn more about her and Whirlaway’s inspiring journey here: http://whirlawayatx.com/

ArtOutside Green Initiatives: I’ve known Chad Rittenberry for many years, and in that time he’s been a part of many sustainability related ventures. From being a part of the genesis of the Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance, to green building, to heading up the sustainability initiative at the ArtOutside festival, he’s always had his hands in something green! This year he’s coming back to ArtOutside, to help festival participants compost, recycle, and most importantly LEAVE NO TRACE! This event is a pack-it-in/pack-it-out event, meaning that the culture that is encouraged here is for each festival attendee to leave the land better than they found it. Unlike many other large festivals, the venue won’t be a sea of trash as everyone walks out the door. It’s a really inspiring culture to be a part of! For more information on other AreOutside green initiatives, go to: http://www.artoutside.org/about/green-initiatives/ and for more info on the event itself, go to: www.artoutside.org

Thanks for reading my blog post! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share about some of the organizations and people that inspire me on a daily basis, and I hope it inspires you too!

See you at the Microfarm!

-Dominique

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