Garden City Harvest in Missoula and the waste management in UM

Ornprapa Anugoolprasert, Thailand, Economic Empowerment Fellows Program

Garden City Harvest in Missoula and the waste management in UM

Garden City Harvest is a non-profit collaboration joining with several small farms and community gardens in Missoula, Montana. Four neighborhood-based farms of the Garden City Harvest and community gardens attract the residents who would like to purchase the high-quality local organic food, rent a plot and grow their own vegetables, or “volunteer for veggies” by receiving free food in the exchange for work. Four neighborhood-based farms are Orchard Gardens farm, The Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS) Farm, River Road farm and Youth Farm. The PEAS farm is the hub of many of Garden City Harvest’s programs and it is the largest neighborhood farm of the Garden City Harvest with 10 acres. For the product from four neighborhood-based farms, there are many kinds of vegetables such as basil, potatoes, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, broccoli, beets, onions, peas and tomatoes, and also some eggs. The products will sell to the local people in the cheap price under CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system. The CSA member will pay upfront around 500 dollars for the product throughout the growing season (around 18 weeks of vegetables in Missoula). The early bulk payment enables each farmer to cover early season costs required to raise healthy vegetables, including purchasing new seeds and making equipment repairs. Moreover, some products from the four neighborhood-based farms of the Garden City Harvest will donate to the food bank around 4,000 ponds per year, especially in the vegetable and some eggs. At these farms, the college students both graduate and undergraduate students from University of Montana can practice or learn about the farming management the course work in environmental studies. In addition, the children who in cooperation with the local youth drug court or troubled teenagers can join to practice in these farm that will help them to find a positive environment and professional therapy.

For the community gardens, there are some neighborhood residents that are working on the vibrant green spaces for promoting gardeners as a project “owners” and leader. Garden City Harvest tries to find the locations in low-income neighborhoods where their benefits are needed most. The families with out yard space or gardening experience can rent a small plot to grow vegetables that the price is 50 dollars per year and they can eat their own desire for fresh and healthy food.

For the waste management in the cafeteria of University of Montana, there is a wonderful management for making the all the waste product, such as dry food scraps or coffee ground, to become the compost. All of this compost will use for growing vegetables in the University and also give to PEAS farm for using in the growing season. There is very good model for other University including my University for the waste management to promoted the University to be the “Green University” in the future.

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