The Living Labs at Mountain View is an innovative model for conservation, sustainability and nutrition education. Through the Community Garden, Aquaponics Lab and Outdoor Classroom, both students and the community engage in hands-on practices and field research. The Living Labs provide tools for multidisciplinary systems thinking through food, soil, water, air pollution, nutrition, biodiversity, landscapes and climate change.
Community Garden Is a Healthy Food Oasis
The Community Garden serves as an outdoor learning space, a neighborhood teaching opportunity and a place for students to gain hands-on experience in multiple disciplines. Since all food grown on-site must be organic and chemical-free, the Community Garden has been embraced by students and faculty teaching healthy lifestyles. There are 44 raised beds and on-site water, plus access to gardening tools and harvested rainwater. There’s also a beautiful pavilion with seating for cooling off while gardening.
Outdoor Classroom Showcases the Beautiful Features of the Mountain View Campus
Encompassing the entire campus, the Outdoor Classroom is 210 acres in the Austin Chalk Wash formation, which boasts woodland trails, Blackland Prairie and a wide variety of wildlife. Taking students outdoors allows faculty to expand the sustainability discussion to include drought, biodiversity, climate change impacts, air pollution, health issues, stormwater and more.
Aquaponics Lab Offers Unique Approach to Growing Food
The Aquaponics Lab is a greenhouse that contains three separate, closed-loop systems where we grow organic food using rocks, water and fish poop. Since its launch in 2014, we’ve grown several varieties of leaf lettuce, bok choy, swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, parsley and basil.