Composting with the Wildcats

Compost Cats is an entirely student-run project to convert food and green waste from the University of Arizona and other local businesses into a valuable soil amendment, help reduce the carbon footprint of the university, and save the university money by reducing landfill fees. Compost will be donated to campus gardens and landscapes and to community and school garden projects in Tucson.

Rincon Heights Community Garden: Growing Stronger Community Connections

The Rincon Heights Neighborhood has teamed up with the UA to build a 60-bed community garden that doubles as an outdoor, hands-on learning laboratory for students. With the help of two UA interns, the UA Masters of Public Administration Student Association, and the UA Compost Cats, neighborhood residents have prepared 36 garden beds, planted two fig trees and acquired a cache of shovels and other gardening tools.

From Campus Waste to Gourmet Treat

Building on the success of a test crop of gourmet mushrooms grown in 2013, UA students and researchers are partnering with Tucson Village Farm and the UA Controlled Environment Agricultural Center to produce large quantities of mushrooms from discarded landscaping and consumer waste. Together, they are creating a simple production-recycling program at the UA that can easily be copied by anyone interested in converting this type of waste into tasty and nutritious fungi.

Campus Harvest

This project involves University of Arizona students harvesting edible fruits, nuts and seed pods from trees in the campus arboretum. The goal is to promote the many benefits of trees and show the UA community how the urban landscape can contribute to food security and sustainability. The organizers will encourage interested UA students and members of the Tucson community to come out and help with harvests.

Service Learning and Students’ Awareness of Sustainability

The UA Community and School Garden Program hired a Graduate Research Assistant to develop and conduct a systematic assessment of the Garden Program’s impact on community participants and UA interns. Participating interns observed and evaluated their peers in consultation with each other, the graduate assistant, and faculty instructors. The quantifiable data this system produces hopes to secure outside funding from the likes of the National Science Foundation and the William T.

Promoting Student Leadership in Sustainability Education on Campus and in the Community

Through the UA Community and School Garden Program, UA interns use garden-based lessons to help K-12 students understand abstract ideas like the carbon cycle and photosynthesis, and larger topics ranging from nutrition to food security and social justice. In the summer of 2013 eight interns attended a sustainability-in-education summer institute in New York.

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