Archive: June2017

Gardening with Nature

By Kelly Cartwright

This essay is a personal reflection on the practice of gardening with nature. I explore how my gardening practices have influenced the other species in my yard and the associated changes in myself. Of key importance is that my role as a gardener has allowed me to have a deeper relationship with nature.

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Planting More than Just Veggies: Student-Created Plans for a Sustainable Urban Farm

By Daniela Shebitz, Sergio Capozzi and Jackie Park Albaum

We present a non-formal learning experience between Kean University students and Groundwork Elizabeth that draws upon the ecologically renewing and civically engaging mission of renewable agriculture. Under increasing urbanization pressure in the New York Metropolitan Area, Groundwork Elizabeth emerged as a nonprofit organization dedicated to address challenges of food security and environmental degradation. During the spring of 2015, 17 students in the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences at Kean University created a plan for the design and management of the Liberty Hall Farm, which Groundwork Elizabeth manages. The capstone students worked on six projects that were proposed by the Groundwork Elizabeth: 1) permaculture design, 2) water management, 3) soil management, 4) a medicinal plant garden design and implementation, 5) an online farm records tracking system, and 6) education curricula for primary and secondary schools visiting the farm. A summary of these actions and the project outcomes are presented.

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The Place of Food Systems: Exploring the Relationship between Sense of Place and Community Food Systems Engagement

By Jeremy Solin

This qualitative research study examined the relationship between sense of place and engagement in community food systems. Narrative inquiry, phenomenology, and case study methodologies were used to capture the rich, lived experiences of 29 participants involved in community food systems. The participants were affiliated with one of three organizations in Wisconsin. The results emerging from semi-structured interviews uncovered the interrelated motivations, outcomes, engagement activities, and senses of place of the participants. The study proposed that food, particularly the growing and eating of local food, had the unique characteristic of connecting people to the social and ecological aspects of place in ways that developed a strong sense of place and an integrated human-nature worldview centered on food (a “foodview”). The results also supported a multi-dimensional understanding of sense of place.
The results of this project will be useful to community organizers, food systems advocates, and sustainability educators.

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Incorporation Of Traditional Knowledge Into Geoscience Education: An Effective Method Of Native American Instruction

By Wendy Smythe, Richard C. Hugo and Sean McAllister

Here we present a place-based culturally competent Geoscience Education Program (GEP) implemented in an Alaska Native (AN) community, in which we coupled Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. The GEP was built upon collaborations with the school district, tribal government, community, and a National Science and Technology Center engaging K-12 students about relevant environmental topics of interest to the tribal community, such as the health of local riverine and coastal ecosystems. Our pedagogical approach promoted learning rooted in local history, culture, and language while encouraging students to build STEM expertise. This paper describes a successful Geoscience Education Research project using bioassessment of coastal marine habitats with shipworms as an indicator organism to monitor the health of coastal resources. As an authentic research project, the study not only produced real-world data that substantially benefited the tribal community, but also a novel scientific finding – that shipworms may facilitate bioassessment of marine environments.

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Science in the Learning Gardens

By Dilafruz Williams

A brief overview of a three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation can be seen in the video: This project supports racial and ethnic minority students to succeed in science by engaging in real-life, active, culturally relevant education in the Learning Gardens. To capitalize on school gardens that are sprouting nationally, a 3-year partnership project called Science in the Learning Gardens or SciLG began in 2014. The enclosed flyer provides a description of the project which shows promise as middle school students are motivated to learn and engaged in the gardens as they grow food and connect with soil.

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Intersections of Regenerative Agriculture and Food Justice: A Journey

By Cirien Saadeh

This paper explores research and transformative community organizing done in North Minneapolis, MN. The North Minneapolis community is working to transform their local food system through a bottom-up, community-based, community-led multi-layer organizing plan. As part of my research I supported the community in exploring what their vision was and what plan would need to be built to make that vision a possibility. Regenerative agriculture was key to this.

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