By Kristina Michel
During the summer time, the University of Houston instituted Farm to Work, a wellness program that aimed to make it easy and affordable for UH employees to buy and pick up fresh, locally-grown produce on campus. While it enjoyed support on campus, Farm to Work faced a number of difficulties that made it hard for the program to continue.
Though the Farm to Work program has been discontinued, its key partner Plant It Forward Farms will still have a presence on the UH campus as one of many vendors at the UH Farmers Market, a new initiative launched by UH Dining Services that benefits the entire campus community. At the UH Farmers Market, students, faculty and staff can shop for locally-grown and locally-sourced fruits, vegetables and products without having to leave campus.
Plant It Forward Farms offers economically disadvantaged refugees an opportunity to become self-sufficient by growing, harvesting and selling produce from a sustainable urban farm inside the city. Each farmer is trained to farm using organic, pesticide-free growing techniques and to sell their produce through farmers markets, farm stands, restaurants and farm shares.
Plant It Forward Farms was at the inaugural UH Farmers Market held Sept. 27. The events have continued every other Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. all semester. One more remains on Nov. 29 in Wilhelmina Grove.
Since the produce grown by Plant It Forward is local and seasonal, the types and amount of produce available at each market will vary. Visit plant-it-forward.org for more information about the urban farm group and for recipes using the many types of fruits, vegetables and herbs commonly grown by producers.