Throughout my independent study, I have broken my project down into multiple subtopics. As I finish the project, I am at the point where I am reconnecting and interrelating all of the information I’ve gained. Along with this process, I am also relaying to others the information I have gained and connections I’ve drawn between these topics.
Ecofeminism Q & A
What is ecofeminism?
Ecofeminism examines the ways that oppressive structures have operated in society to exploit women and nature. This connection has influenced the way that roles in society have been determined for women and nature. Ecofeminism often stresses that women and all components of nature are to be elevated in status so that all members of a culture may equally take part in recognizing their connectedness to and the importance of nature; eradicating the dominion over women and nature.
What is ethnobotany and how is it relevant?
Ethnobotany is the study of people and plants, and specifically the role that plants play in individual cultures. For example, certain cultures may use important native plants as a source of food, medicine, or currency and this plant use can shape the culture of those people. This is relevant to my independent study on community building around medicinal plants because many cultures have formed community around their use and cultivation of plants. Along with this, many plants have a particular use in a community that is passed down to future generations. I particularly examined the role of individual plants in Iroquois medical botany and how Native American communities used plants available to them traditionally.
What is an intentional community and why should we build communities?
An intentional community brings together individuals who share a common interest or experience and these individuals work together to build on their experiences and gain knowledge in their shared interest. Examples of intentional communities include housing cooperatives and ecovillages; where members of the community live together while building community. Building intentional communities is important because it creates space where individuals can work together to enrich knowledge on a topic individually and communally and share experiences around the topic to gain a broader understanding. In an intentional community, individuals are also provided the opportunity to build connections and relationships with one another through shared information and experiences.
What is a community garden?
Community gardens are often organized in urban areas to convert unused space into food production. With community gardens, land is set aside and community members can cultivate food on it by purchasing seeds, renting tools, and maintaining the land. This insures that produce is available to the community as well (often in urban areas where local produce may not be abundant), since residents are producing the food locally and distributing it to other residents. A community garden can work similarly to an intentional community in that it provides space for individuals to build on their knowledge of and experience with food, while developing the infrastructure to make local produce available to all community members.
How is building a community medicinal herb garden relevant to ecofeminism?
The vision for this project is that it will incorporate ideas about information sharing and community development in order to build an ecofeminist community with Dickinson and Carlisle through medicinal herb gardening. This incorporates ethnobotany because many of the planned plants to be used have local traditional uses and a historical use beyond their current use that is or was part of a culture. This knowledge, along with general knowledge about gardening will hopefully be shared among members. By creating a medicinal herb garden, participants will also be able to learn more about their own bodies by determining their individual needs and connecting themselves to the soil with the use of medicinal herbs. Further, this incorporates aspects of a community garden because it is space that will be maintained by multiple people for the benefit of a community that can also hopefully expand their shared knowledge and experiences.