Access to healthy, local food is central to our student and campus sustainability efforts. Every meal we eat directly links us to the environment–to how that food is grown, processed, and transported. Sustaining faculty, staff, and thousands of students a day, some of them for more than one meal per day, is challenging, but also an opportunity to find new ways to source locally, to grow our own food, and to close the loop with on-site composting.

The effort to do so here at UWM has been one of collaboration. There are garden plots available to grow your own food on campus. These gardens offer more than fresh produce. They are an opportunity for faculty to work with students, for elders to work with youth, and for the campus community to grow outside the classroom. UWM Restaurant Operations has striven towards local food sources for many years, primarily by building partnerships across the state. A variety of volunteers at the on-site composting operation collect food scraps and coffee grounds, that are then turned into rich soil for our multiple gardens. From design, to cultivation, to lab-tested results, the campus gardens and our efforts to build a sustainable food system have taken root, while there are many more fruits to harvest in years to come.