Cultivating Community: SEED 2013

February 24th, 2013


With only two weeks left before the first SEED class of 2013, I have been in full-out preparation mode. Tasks for the week have included finalizing the curriculum, meeting with Jenn, creating a blog, distributing posters around Carlisle, and discussing the lesson plan with our volunteers. On Monday, Jenn and I tweaked the agenda for March’s Sweet Trees and Bees curriculum, and packed it with hands-on activities.  Next on the list was to make a blog for SEED.  I was fortunate enough to get some help from Ryan Burke, one of Dickinson’s social media experts. Ryan established the site while I spent a significant part of my Monday afternoon absorbed in the long list of blog themes – arranging and rearranging the toolbar and background pictures. I have little experience with social media, so it will take some time before I can comfortably navigate my way around the wordpress site. However, I hope to eventually reach out to members of the Carlisle and Boiling Springs area about SEED through the blog, and maybe even through twitter – but no promises yet!

Apart from the internet, there are other ways to introduce SEED to the community. I rarely have free time to walk downtown on High Street to meet and greet various shopkeepers, but on Thursday afternoon I distributed posters to the local shops and restaurants. It was so gratifying to have personal interactions with the people that make this town run. My spirits were lifted when I received positive feedback on the program and when everyone I asked was more than happy to advertise for SEED. This week was a good reminder that this program is designed not only to teach kids about sustainable food practices, but it is also about making connections within a community. Every adult and child that comes out to the College Farm should feel that they are connected with the Dickinson community, with the student farm workers, with each other, and with the earth. All of my students should know that they are planting seeds for their future not only by cultivating food, but also by cultivating their community.

I have personally developed a more solidified space in the Carlisle community since starting this program. The initiative has forced me to talk with fellow-farmers, professors, schoolteachers, and parents. The feeling of warm acceptance that I experience as I engage in this work is wonderful – and I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide young people with this same sentiment.

Our volunteers for Saturday’s class are more than excited to participate.  It is a chance for them to work with, and learn from our students, while engaging in the richness of the Carlisle community – one that is not omnipresent in the college realm. We cannot wait for SEED’s kickoff this Saturday!!!

 SEED 02-2013 Electronic

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