MISSOULA – The University of Montana will celebrate Earth Day with a fresh addition to its sustainability efforts as UM Dining unveils a new garden space Friday, April 22, at 515 South Ave E.
The new space, three times larger than the current garden space on the UM campus, is supported by a $10,000 grant from the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture Program. The funding from the grant was matched by UM Dining.
“We’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received through the Growth Through Agriculture Program,” said Trevor Lowell, UM Dining director of sustainability. “The new garden will expand opportunities for students and community members to learn about sustainable farming techniques while increasing the amount of garden-fresh produce used in our dining operations.”
The current UM Dining garden outside the Lommasson Center is just steps away from the Food Zoo, UM’s main dining hall on campus, and in its sixth production year. The garden consistently produces around 2,000 pounds of produce at a market value of approximately $11,000. All produce grown in the garden is served on campus to students and campus guests.
The garden gives students an opportunity to engage with urban agriculture and the Montana food system. In 2014, six students earned academic credit for internships in the garden totaling 540 hours of service. The new garden will allow UM Dining to grow more food on campus in a sustainable way, satisfying UM’s wider goal of reaching carbon neutrality.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture program offers investments for new and innovative agriculture marketing ideas or agribusiness developments.
To learn more about sustainability at UM Dining, visit the website at http://www.umt.edu/dining/Sustainability/.