UTD Eco Hub
Sustainability - The University of Texas at Dallas
In fall 2021, The Office of Sustainability launched its brand-new UTD Eco Hub, which is a hive for student leadership for sustainability on campus and in our community.
The facility features about 20,000 square feet of high-quality soil, built with the compost that was on site from the compost operations at the location, and an apiary where students can participate in the care for the honeybees while learning from UTD’s experts, Dr. Scott Rippel and Dr. Christina Thompson.
The farm is guided by principles of organic farming, including the avoidance of harsh pesticides and herbicides. We grow produce in twelve sections, each dedicated to a different seasonal plant family. Before a new growing season, the plant families are assigned to a new plot in a process called “crop rotation,” which ensures that the soil microbiome maintains its diversity and reduces the depletion of any one macronutrient over time. The Eco Hub also practices a technique called “cover cropping,” which is the practice of growing crops that are typically not intended for eating, usually for the purpose of improving soil health. Cover crops serve a variety of different purposes like increasing nutrients, boosting organic matter, killing weeds, and breaking compaction. In fall 2022, we experimented with four different kinds of cover crops to increase nitrogen in the soil and to reduce soil compaction: daikon radish, winter rye, hairy vetch, and Austrian winter peas. We will use the results of soil tests taken before and after cover cropping to determine which cover crops are best suited for our needs. Crop rotation and cover cropping are part of a regenerative agriculture approach, which encourages farmers to work with the land to solve agricultural issues.
The UTD Eco Hub is intended to be student led, with the primary focus of the microfarm being food production for food insecure communities through the Comet Cupboard and other North Texas Food Bank Partner Agencies. We also expect that the Eco Hub will become an area for students interested in sustainability issues to convene, provide service, build community, and provide education and outreach to peers.
The Eco Hub is proud to be a registered North Texas Food Bank Partner Garden, USDA People’s Garden, and an American Heart Association Teaching Garden.
The Eco Hub hosts biweekly workdays that are open to all UTD, including students, staff, and faculty. Volunteers can be expected to perform basic gardening tasks such as weeding, watering, harvesting, planting and laying mulch. At some workdays, there will be an educational component on basic gardening topics such as seasonal planting, composting, harvesting, fruit tree care and more.
Please wear closed-toe shoes and dress for the weather. We work in heat and cold, but will cancel in the case of extreme conditions. It is strongly recommended that you bring a snack and a large, filled water bottle. There is no potable water and there are no bathrooms at the Eco Hub. Please plan accordingly.
Workday dates and information are located on Engage UTD. To view the information and sign up for workdays, you will have to log in via SSO [Single Sign-On] with your UTD NetID and password.
If you are a student organization or another group of 5 or larger wishing to volunteer at a workday, please contact email@example.com.
Location and Directions
The facility is located next to the new water tower on Synergy Park Blvd across from Point North Park. There is limited parking, so during workdays, please park on campus (Lot S and Lot A are the closest lots) and walk to the Eco Hub. You can also bike to the Eco Hub or take DART [Dallas Area Rapid Transit] Route 232 or Route 883 (Comet Cruiser). Check online for the most up-to-date information about DART buses and run times.