By Mallory Doeckel
The Farm to Work program at the University of Houston offered a reward in May for those who purchased a basket of Farm to Work produce every week that month. At the end of the month, four people walked away as winners and received a Sustainable Food Center tote bag, wildflower seeds and a copy of the Sustainable Food Center’s budget-friendly cookbook, The Happy Kitchen.
The winners of this contest weighed in on what they love about purchasing the Farm to Work baskets and why they continue to participate in the program, beginning with the quality of the produce.
“The vegetables are a beautiful array of colors that's hard to find in grocery stores, and everything is clean and keeps in the fridge for a surprisingly long period of time,” said Joelle Carson, communications coordinator for University Advancement.
The baskets offer a range of in-season produce each week, often bringing variety to participants’ kitchens and the meals they prepare. In fact, the Farm to Work website hosts a database of recipes to give people ideas about how to use the items in their baskets.
“I thought I already ate a lot of vegetables, but participating in the Farm to Work program has encouraged me to plan more meals featuring veggies as the centerpiece,” said Claire Anderson, English lecturer.
Suzanne Weiss, UH graduate student, said, “I often find myself with vegetables I wouldn’t usually think to buy at the grocery store, and occasionally vegetables I’ve never even cooked before. The baskets of fresh, colorful vegetables have been an inspiration to try new and exciting recipes.”
With Farm to Work, refugees from other countries living in the local area are trained on urban sustainable farming practices to establish their own farm and sell to Farm to Work locations. By hosting this service, UH is strengthening the partnership between the UH campus and the local economy and community.
“I love being able to get local produce so conveniently on campus. Plus, the farm UH partners with helps provide jobs for refugees. It’s a sustainable model that makes the world a little bit better,” said Stephanie Coats, department business administrator for the Provost Business Office.