As a University of Texas student, I realize that I am spoiled.
I am spoiled because I get an education at a “premier public university.”
I am spoiled because I am in the ‘prestigious Plan II Program.”
But mostly I am spoiled because I get to live in Austin. I guess that means St. Edward’s students and Austin high school students are spoiled too, but that’s not the point.
I think any college would be better if it were based in Austin. Take A&M, put it in Austin–it’s better. Take Michigan, put it in Austin–it’s better. Take Harvard, put it in Austin–it’s better. Yes, UT is good, but a large part of the reason it is so good is because it’s in Austin. Austin is the most amazing city I have ever been to. Ok no, that’s not true, but it’s my favorite one to live in, at least so far. It has such an amazing collective mentality. Austin is a posterchild of the seamless dovetail of environmentalism, pragmatism, capitalism, and creativity. People here “do well by doing good.”
Austin fosters local music, local food, local business, attracts foreign business and foreign people, promotes education, encourages fraternity, and pushes the boundaries of what a city government is supposed to do for its constituents. I have never loved living in a city so much. There are numerous blogs that exist solely to keep Austinites informed about what exactly is going on in Austin on that day!
Stubb’s Barbeque, Waterloo Records, Kerbey Lane, Juan in a Million, Book People, 24 Diner, Zilker Park, and the UT Campus are just a few of the amazing, locally grown hotspots Austin has to offer. But, I have just heard of another one that really intrigued me.
in.gredients is not open yet, and their website does not clarify exactly where they plan on opening, but I can assure you, I will be there on its premier. It is a grocery store, in the same vein as Whole Foods, but with a Co-op spin to it. In their words, in.gredients will be will be “the first package-free and zero waste grocery store in the United States.”
I can try and explain it more, but I will butcher the idea of it; so, instead, I urge you to check out the website and donate if you have money to give to a good cause. The ethos of the store is a sentiment that they share with me and many others: grocery stores have too much waste. Excluding plastic bags and obvious packaging for boxes and lettuce bags, there is so much more refuse than you could imagine. I actually have a pretty good idea of how much waste a grocery store uses, because I have spent a lot of time in the storage and shipping areas of H.E.B. I promise you that if customers saw much energy it takes –in the form of plastic, gas, and cooling– to bring them their food, they would support lower waste grocers too.
That is a picture I took inside the dairy freezer at H.E.B. yesterday. I didn’t know I would have such a good use for it, but I thought an opportunity would come along at some point. We use so much! Without even thinking about it or worse, without even knowing it.
So all I’m trying to do now is to get the word out a little, spread the news of something new. Check out the website tonight, and continue to monitor in.gredients if you have a facebook or twitter. And I hope to see you when they cut the ribbons!