UH produce garden expands options

RecycleMania has taken hold of our campus and shaken us all to our roots. UH has gone green in the most basic of ways by not just recycling, but planting a vegetable garden in order to offer students food prepared with the freshest possible produce.

By using campus-raised veggies, the food service department will be able to cut back on costs, offer seasonal produce and have the simple knowledge of having provided the students with the healthiest options out there, as well as making other green ideas feasible.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have a co-op program aside from the food service’s garden? Students living on campus could pitch in a little time and effort, have their own section to plant the fruit or veggie of their choice and, once a week, swap with other co-op participants, so that every member is able to have a balanced variety of healthy food options at no additional cost. While it may seem a little ‘granola’ to some, it could assist our campus efforts in the RecycleMania competition that conveniently carries on into late March, allowing plenty of time for the joint efforts of the co-op to come to fruition.

But before I chew off my own foot entirely, let’s take a step back to think of the potential a campus vegetable garden provides. With any luck, we could have more veggies in the dishes offered in the cafeteria and more vegetarian dishes for those that don’t eat meat. It could also help keep our campus healthy by simply allowing the students to eat healthier.

With Houston in the midst of the dreaded flu season, you can bet there are plenty of students sniffling their way to class and finding they are suddenly eating more fruits and vegetables. Why open up a can of condensed soup when you can make homemade soup in less than 20 minutes? There are many options for feel-better foods, but soup usually tops the charts. If students were either allowed to purchase fresh produce grown on campus (with proceeds going back to the veggie garden), or grow their own, it would be almost effortless to toss together some fresh veggies, a couple of bouillon cubes, some water and spices into a bowl. Here’s the kicker – even if you don’t have a stove to cook on or a pot to cook with, you can easily do this in a microwave. It is possible to make enough soup in the microwave to last several days, or at least long enough to nourish your body back to health while saving you a few bucks!

So let’s see – healthier food options for students, potential for student assistance and/or a co-op, bettering the health of our campus and saving a little money in the process all while making the scarlet red of our campus look a little greener. Sounds pretty good all the way around, but ultimately we have to wait for the vegetable garden to be planted first and then we can let our imaginations run wild.

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