The UW is One of the Ten Greenest Colleges in AmericaSeptember 4, 2012 @ 5:25 pm (Updated: 6:06 pm - 9/4/12 )
By Rachel Belle
It may have been tough for Kermit the Frog, but for the University of Washington? It's pretty easy being green. The Sierra Club included the UW on its Top Ten Greenest Colleges in America list, the 5th consecutive year it's been given the honor. The school does all kinds of things to save energy and water, to cut back on waste and promote environmentalism. The UW's associate Vice President of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, Ruth Johnston, says only 21 percent of students and faculty drive to the UW alone. But one of the most fun ways the campus has gone green, is with the UW farm.
Dressed in jean shorts and Tom's slip-on shoes, biology student and farm volunteer, Julia Reed, leads me on a tour of the crops they're growing.
"Here's a bunch of summer squash, you can see yellow zuccini. A bunch of tomatoes are finally ripening up, which I was eating earlier. Really good!"
This Fall, for the first time ever, UW students will get a taste of what's growing on the UW farm.
"For the past six years, all the food has gone to volunteers and sometimes we bring it to the food bank. Now, with this new space, we're hoping in the fall to start selling to Housing and Food Services. Hoping to get this food to the dorm's cafeterias."
Dorm cafeterias are pretty notorious for having terrible food, but the students there will be eating fresh fruits and vegetables picked less than a mile away. The farm is just off the UW campus, just blocks from the busy U Village shopping center, but there aren't many signs of the city. It's just quiet farmland as far as the eye can see.
"I think the cool thing about being in the city is kind of thinking about farming in a really creative way. You know, like, how to grow food in these urban spaces and give food to people who wouldn't otherwise have fresh food."
Julia says she didn't come to the UW with any intent of being a farmer, and says most of her classmates are learning as they go.
"I've learned all kinds of things from how to build a good compost pile to what to plant what times of year, what plant families are growing on the farm and what weeds are edible, how to harvest and cook zucchini..."
The UW also scored the highest environmental rating on the Princeton Reviews latest Guide to Green colleges.
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