The Chickens’ New Home

Two years ago I was in a course that required “service hours.” There are numerous volunteer opportunities in Missoula and I happened upon an interesting project at the UM FLAT. The FLAT was constructing a predator-secure habitat for their free-range chickens. The project required volunteers who could help build the new chicken run. As a…

Springtime Festivities

The UM FLAT crew is happy to welcome long brighter days and natural signs of springtime. We have many accomplishments to celebrate as yet another busy semester winds down.  Garden planning and preparations are in full swing, a worn out chicken palace (coop) has been rebuilt, preschoolers have been visiting the FLAT for fun-filled activities,…

The Wonders of Woodworking

Did you know that some trees secrete a toxin that prevents other plants from growing around them? Or that some wood changes color after it has been exposed to oxygen? Or that you can make a cutting board from scrap wood in just two nights with a little bit of help? The FLAT hosted a…

Cold Days and Big Plans

  It’s cold outside, our gardens are buried deep in snow, and our pellet stoves are lit. At the  FLAT, winter is a time for getting cozy and cooking delicious food, for playing hard in the snow, and for making plans for this semester and the coming spring. Last weekend the FLATmates headed out to…

Beyond UM: The FLAT Goes Back to Pre-school

We have had visitors of all sizes around the FLAT this year, from wriggly-worms to awkward teenage chickens. We’ve welcomed student groups, guest presenters, readers and writers and curious passerby’s into our space. Yet I must admit my favorite visitors this year was the Afternoon Class of the Learning and Belonging Preschool (LAB). I decided to reach out…

Something in the air

As students once again fill the arteries of the University of Montana, a sense of excitement and a tinge of trepidation permeate the air. The emotional current seeps into the institutional brick and settles on waxed floors.

Earth Day Work Day and BBQ!

Earth Week was a busy time all across Missoula, and the UM FLAT celebrated with a volunteer work day and BBQ! With the theme of backyard renovation, we had a variety of projects including a new bike parking area, a brick patio for the cob oven and getting the garden ready for the growing season!…

Bike Parking at Near-Epidemic Levels

A Special Report from the Green Onion: Missoula, Montana – Reports are surfacing of a now-chronic problem from the backyard of the FLAT, authorities said. For the past several months, the FLAT, the University of Montana’s Sustainable Living Demonstration House, has seen a disproportionate amount of visitors for the popular and frequent events they offer…

We’re So Excited for Spring We Wet our Plants!

March 20th was the spring equinox, and even though it’s snowing today spring is certainly starting to make itself at home here at the UM FLAT. This past weekend the FLAT folks got together with some of our Spring 2015 interns and a couple of volunteers from the Missoula guerrilla gardening group, 1000 New Gardens,…

Breaking Down the FLAT Compost

Composting is a simple idea. Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled into fertilizer as a soil amendment. At a very simple level, it requires making a pile of wet organic matter (green waste) and then waiting for the materials to decay and break down into humus over the course of months…

So…what exactly do you guys do?

Recently at one of our sleepy-eyed Tuesday morning meetings, the FLAT crew was interviewed for a KBGA story on student housing by graduate student Nicky Ouelett. The story coveres the topic of themed housing and portrays what it is like living in one these more goal-oriented group living situations. Living at the FLAT, we often get…

FLAT Winter is Coming!

With winter weather comin’ in hot…or I guess starting to cool off quite a bit, the residents at UM FLAT have been putting some finishing touches on winterizing the house along with some of our projects. At the UM FLAT, changing seasons mean changing focus and sometimes even switching our projects. Spring 2014 had us…