The Howdy Farm is proud to be hosting what we are calling “Sustainable Saturday at the farm”, which will take place on Saturday, April 25th from noon to 5pm. We are hosting this event as part of Earth Week and will open our farm for anyone and everyone to come take a tour, ask us questions, and find out how we are contributing to sustainable agriculture right here on the campus of Texas A&M. The Howdy Farm would not be where it is today without the help and support of our partners in sustainability, so we would like to take a minute to provide some background information about how we practice sustainability, while also thanking those who have helped us achieve these goals.
First and foremost we would like to thank the Department of Horticultural Sciences for supporting our vision and providing us with the land to fulfill our mission. As many of you know we were forced to relocate the farm when the construction of the new West Campus housing project began, but the department was gracious in letting us use the garden area and empty field behind the building. We have expanded our farm into the empty field, which in-time will mean we can provide even more fresh vegetables to our wonderful customers!
One of our newest additions to the farm, as you have seen if you have been to the farm since last August, is our sustainability building. This building is made from reclaimed and recycled materials including barn wood that is over 100 years old! It is equipped with solar panels, which provide us with electricity for lights, fans, and outlets for charging phones, laptops, and batteries for our power tools. We were able to purchase this building from a company called Reclaimed Space through the support of the Aggie Green Fund and the Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability has been an integral part of our success and we can’t thank them enough for all they have provided us. Here are some pictures of the building, and the solar system that allows us to remain off-the-grid:
The landscape in front of our building was also paid for by the Aggie Green Fund/Office of Sustainability and was designed by Agrilife Extension program specialist, Tim Hartmann. Tim’s focus area is Earth-Kind landscaping, which is a sustainable approach to landscaping through proper plant selection, proper soil preparation, and water conservation. The landscape that Tim designed utilizes plants that are native to Texas, can tolerate drought conditions once established, and attract many beneficial pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies. The landscape is a beautiful addition to our farm and we would like to thank Tim for his time and efforts. Here is a picture of part of the landscape in full bloom:
Attached to our sustainability building is a rainwater harvesting system that was installed by an intern at the Howdy Farm, Chris Paulson. Chris is a huge advocate of maximizing efficiency and conserving natural resources, such as water. Chris also installed a 2nd rainwater tank to our tool shed, giving us the capacity to reserve 2,000 gallons of stored rainwater to be used at a later date when the temperatures begin to rise. One of the rainwater tanks was purchased through the Aggie Green Fund and the Office of Sustainability, giving us another reason to thank them immensely. Here are some pictures of our rainwater systems:
Finally, we have installed a large composting area on the farm to eliminate farm waste by turning it into compost rather than throwing it away. We have reduced the amount of compost we have to purchase by adding this large compost area to the farm, and we want to thank the Northgate Juice Joint on University for providing us with juicing pulp to help facilitate this process. We have built a great relationship with the Juice Joint and it is a great representation of community working together in mutual support. We sell a lot of our greens to them, they juice the greens, and we pick up the pulp to put into our compost pile. It’s a cycle that promotes local business, as well as waste reduction. If you haven’t been to the Northgate Juice Joint yet, we highly recommend that you go check them out. My personal favorite is the Coffee Cashew drink, which contains: cashew milk, espresso, cocoa nibs, and bananas. The drink isn’t overly sweetened, which makes it a healthy alternative to other coffee drinks that contain loads of sugar. Here is a picture of our compost pile:
These are just a few examples of how we at the Howdy Farm contribute to sustainability and the community. You can learn more about these aspects of the farm, as well as many others, by coming out for our “Sustainable Saturday at the Farm” event. We will be happy to show you around the farm and provide you with the educational tools so you can include some of these techniques in your garden at home. We will have fresh produce available for purchase, and we will provide a free bundle of herbs to all of our customers. That’s our way of saying thanks to you, our loyal customers, because without your support we wouldn’t be able to operate. All of the money we make from our produce sales goes right back into the farm so we can continue with our mission. We hope to see you at the farm!
*We obviously can’t thank each and every individual who has helped contribute to our success. The success of the Howdy Farm comes from many individuals and local businesses, and we appreciate each and every one of you.*
The Howdy Farm
Story written by the farm manager: Corey Wahl
Story inspired by the wonderful community of Bryan/College Station