Sustainable Food Production in Missoula

My global theme is resources and sustainability, and my global challenge is focused on sustainable food production. This theme and challenge emphasize humans’ dependency on the natural world and preserving what limited resources we have left by integrating sustainability practices into humans’ everyday activities. I believe that sustainable food production relates to resources and sustainability because by reducing the amount of resources needed for food growth it can decrease humans impact of the environment. During my Beyond the Classroom experience I participated in an internship through the UM Dining Gardens. I worked with three UM gardens that are associated with the University. I worked at the on campus Lommasson Garden as well as the Microgreens Garden within the Food Zoo. I also had the chance to work at the garden located off South Avenue, a few blocks away from campus. UM Campus Gardens work tirelessly to ensure their food is grown sustainably. In addition, the UM Campus Gardens invest in composting food waste, conserving water and energy, collaborating with other community members and businesses, and pursues the purchase of locally and sustainably produced food.

During this internship, I developed a better understanding of the diverse perspectives related to resources and sustainable food production. I had the chance to experience the hands-on hard work that sustainable food production requires from a farmer’s perspective. While working with the UM Campus Gardens, I learned that patience is not the only essential skill for a successful harvesting season. It also requires time management, and extensive planning. This is what I valued the most from this internship. I gained knowledge about the in-depth planning that garden creation requires. I also learned that what makes a garden successful is the amount of work you put into it. For example, I spent a lot of time this semester weeding the many rows at the South Ave, Garden. This was really time consuming and wasn’t necessarily rewarding at the time, however, when the plants began to grow without being disturbed by weeds it felt incredibly rewarding. This internship has opened my eyes to the hard work that is put into sustainable food growth. More importantly, it taught me that the hard work pays off when the environment around us continues to thrive. I plan to use the knowledge that I gained during this internship in any future careers that I have in environmental sustainably and use it to aid in completing my global challenge in the upcoming year.

This is me after a harvest of fresh garlic from the garden.