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Photo Story: Mark Stenberg

After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and writing a research paper over sustainable agriculture/carbon footprints, Mark Stenberg decided to drastically adjust his lifestyle—becoming a vegetarian (now attempting veganism), participating in the UT community garden, purchasing local and organic produce, and sharing his unique cooking style and knowledge through a cooking class from underprivileged children at Travis High School.

With his busy schedule, Mark Stenberg has to find time to visit his plot at the University of Texas community garden several times a week. For most college student, waking up at seven a.m. to water plants may not necessarily be an ideal way to start the day.

As the planting season comes to a close in mid-November, Stenberg examines seed packets to learn what he can plant last minute.

Stenberg uses string to mark off sections his plot in order to separate the types of vegetables are growing, determine how much water should be distributed to each crop, and monitor the
progress of growth.

To prepare for his cooking class, Stenberg visits the local Fiesta Supermarket to purchase authentic ingredients to make a classic Spanish dish.

When purchasing produce, Stenberg strives to pick fruits and vegetables that are both organic and locally grown, thereby creating a smaller carbon footprint.

Despite being a vegetarian, Stenberg’s Spanish recipe includes meatballs and he must therefore purchase both ground pork and ground beef.

Stenberg instructs Amanda (left) and Lauren (right) on the proper way to make meatballs in order that the meat cooks all the way through.

Over twenty Travis High School students show up for Stenberg’s cooking class each Monday after school. Out of all the after school programs, the cooking class is the most popular and serves as an excellent way to keep the students from becoming involved with gangs and drugs.

Stenberg monitors the stovetop as he cooks over one hundred meatballs. The albondigas (meatballs with tomato sauce) were a huge success among all the students.

In between classes, managing his garden, and his cooking class, Stenberg still finds time to cook meals for himself. He adds fresh tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeƱo peppers, and Serrano peppers to a blender in order to make his family’s homemade salsa. After pulsing all the ingredients together, Mark Stenberg tests his salsa before making a meal with chips.
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