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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Faces of Sustainability

Martin “Marty” Werts
Physical Plant Division - Grounds Superintendent, Organic Citrus Vendor

Martin “Marty” Werts has been a dedicated employee to the University of Florida for the past 30 years, incorporating sustainability into his every day routine as naturally as waking up in the morning.

On campus, Werts supervises our Grounds Division, working hard to maintain the beauty and ecological integrity of campus. Marty oversees campus landscaping, ensuring that native and low-impact plants are used to reduce resource and chemical use - helping to curtail associated impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity on campus. Thanks to Marty campus-goers can now also see vegetation and foliage that attract butterflies, as well as edibles, scattered across the landscape.

Marty’s commitment doesn’t stop when the work week does. His dedication to protect our grounds and keep campus clean is evident even on home football Saturdays.

“Marty is a tremendous asset to the game day recycling program. He wholeheartedly supports it week after week, and actively seeks opportunities to best serve the initiative’s needs,” says Jordan Weinstein, intern program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability’s TailGator Game Day Recycling Program. “He is an essential component, and a fierce ally that we are lucky to have at our disposal.”

In addition to these efforts, Werts has also been an organic citrus farmer for the past 5 years. His oranges, grapefruits and other fruits can be found in campus dining halls, a part of the sustainability legacy taking shape here on campus that UF students, staff and faculty can experience.

Not only does he utilize more environmentally friendly methods to grow his products, but his Melrose-located farm means these fruits help reduce shipping related emissions (only a 22 mile footprint) and keep dollars within the local economy. His produce can also be found at Fresh Market in Gainesville.