SAN ANTONIO — A new University of Texas at San Antonio initiative is teaching students to pay close attention to their food.

After years in the works, UTSA’s first student community garden is up and running.

“I heard about this and I had to get involved,” said Anthony Govea a senior student at UTSA.

Groups of students are planting everything from green beans to strawberries.

“When we teach our students to grow these vegetables, not only is it beneficial to them personally. In this time, but as they go out in the world, and say matriculate out into society – they will take that knowledge with them,” said UTSA Director of Sustainability Keith Muhlestein.

While the gardening is catching on, it's also helping promote health, food access and environmental sustainability.

“People are becoming more aware. Consumers want to know where their food comes from. And I think concerns about environmental issues – like climate change are encouraging people to take local steps to make their communities more sustainable. So, I think gardening is one piece of that puzzle,” said UTSA Green Society faculty advisor Lindsay Ratcliffe.

One of the goals is to one day donate some of the produce to nonprofits, like the San Antonio Food Bank, or sell at a farmers market on campus.

“You know, it wasn’t so many generations ago that we all got directly from the farm. We knew that our cucumbers came from the garden down the road or the cabbage came from the other garden. But, we don’t have that today,” said Muhlestein.

The university plans on building additional gardens, including for pollinator insects like bees and butterflies.