The 1,600-square foot, 45-bed UA Community Garden is open to students, employees, and community members. Throughout the fall and winter of 2011, students dug plant beds, installed irrigation systems and built a shed for garden tools. The garden has been divided into 45 plots measuring 20 feet by 3 feet. Students, community and faculty can rent plots for a fee of up to $70 per year. As of March 2012, all of the faculty spaces have been reserved, and only a handful of student plots and community plots remain.
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.
Set atop Mingus Mountain, near Prescott, the James 4-H Camp is the flagship camp and conference center for Arizona 4-H. This project involves sustainable improvements for the camp including solar-powered LED lighting systems, a solar hot water heater for showers, a gray water recycling system, low flow toilets, and a composting toilet. UA professor Ed Franklin’s agricultural education students were recruited to help install the solar panels.
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.
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.
The community food bank helps set up gardens for low income families in their backyard. The Compost Cats donate their compost to these gardens.
The Local Sourcing at the Student Union is run by the Compost Cats with the assistance of the head chef of the Student Union, Chef Omo. The compost from the union is used on the farm and then the crops from the farm are used to cook food for the union. The goal is to go full circle using composting and farming.
The Compost Cats have created an internship program for the members within the club. The goal is to give interns the ability to get more invovled with the community. Some interns work at the Food Bank, the Community Water Coalition, Trees with Tucson, Hydrocats, Casa Marie Soup Kitchen, etc. The Compost Cats want to make more change in the community.