UH Forms Green Alliance with Urban Harvest

The University of Houston is preparing for an outbreak of "green thumbs" on campus.

Thanks to a new partnership between UH and Urban Harvest, the university is intensifying its sustainability initiatives with a new and improved community garden and campus gardening classes that are open to the public.

Urban Harvest is a non-profit, charitable organization that supports urban gardens, farms and orchards. It also teaches communities how to grow food in urban areas.

Urban Harvest is assisting the university in the design and construction of a new garden at the corner of Wheeler Avenue and Cullen Boulevard. Construction will begin this summer, and it is expected to be completed this fall.

"Strategic partnerships with sustainable community organizations are an important component of the university's green program," said Emily Messa, assistant vice president for university services. "Our partnership with Urban Harvest will teach students, faculty and staff how to grow their own food. This is a life skill that they can take with them wherever they go."

Once the garden is completed, Urban Harvest representatives will work with UH staff and students to ensure its continued growth.

"Urban Harvest already has a successful history working with UH student interns. Going forward, we are excited about the practical knowledge and benefits that will result from involving students in our community garden and education programs," said Mark Bowen, executive director of Urban Harvest. "We are certain these programs will help them get a great sense of the real-world applications and benefits of the great education they receive from UH."

This spring, Urban Harvest began delivering community classes on campus focused on organic vegetables and gardening. Starting June 22, it will present summer home gardening courses at UH's Oberholtzer Hall. Fall courses will be conducted in UH's Farish Hall. Registration information is available at Urban Harvest's Web site.

 The UH-Urban Harvest partnership, Bowen said, also will provide opportunities for community symposiums and other outreach efforts.

"We are impressed with UH for exhibiting such outstanding leadership in the area of sustainability," Bowen said. "This partnership will help provide practical educational opportunities and communitywide inspiration with respect to green technologies, economic empowerment through urban agriculture and nutrition."

For more details on UH's sustainability initiatives, visit http://www.uh.edu/af/greenUH/. To learn more about Urban Harvest, visit http://www.urbanharvest.org/.