Students collected their own salad ingredients from the Jester Garden on Thursday at the UT Farm Stand’s Pick Local, Chews Local event.
With help from Farm Stand employees, students cut their own greens for personal salads from a variety of healthy toppings. The Farm Stand is a branch of University Housing and Dining, but Farm Stand employee Elena Adams said it is largely student-run. This is the Farm Stand’s third Pick Local, Chews Local event, which they have hosted once a semester since spring 2019.
“UT Farm Stand’s mission is to educate the UT community on the importance and value of local, sustainably grown healthy foods,” said Neil Kaufman, Farm Stand staff adviser. “How do we shorten the space between a plant being grown and a plant being eaten? We realized we have it all here. We can do it ourselves.”
Students picked different greens and herbs, including lettuce, spinach and basil, from the garden located outside Jester East Residence Hall. The Farm Stand provided other toppings such as corn, chickpeas, mushrooms and dressings.
“For the Farm Stand, we want every aspect to be educational and to be open to students,” biology sophomore Adams said. “We love to have events like this where we essentially welcome students into our process to learn more about sustainable foods and how they’re grown.”
The Farm Stand’s garden team maintains the Jester Garden on a daily basis. Jester Garden coordinator Austin Vargas, who plans workdays where students volunteer in the garden, said the team added planter boxes to the garden this semester.
“It’s really the garden interacting with the community,” architectural engineering sophomore Vargas said. “Education is our biggest thing. (We’re) showing people not only that we produce things, but we produce plants and vegetables that grow here in the (city), where you don’t often see plants being grown.”
In addition to hosting events, the Farm Stand sells their produce and other local foods at their biweekly market, located outside Jester Center.
“In college, a lot of times, everyone’s going at a really fast pace, so people don’t think a lot about what they’re consuming,” computer science freshman Esther Yoon said. “This tries to bring awareness to the things we put into our bodies and the things that we throw out and consume and produce.”