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"Gardens, scholars say, are the first sign of commitment to a community. When people plant corn they are saying, let's stay here. And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another." - Anne Raver

Sharing from the Food Systems Leadership Network newsletter

Sharing from the Food Systems Leadership Network newsletter:Monday Nov. 19: Fail Fest Submissions Due Submit your failure and be in the running for a $250 prize! This is a great opportunity to think back on something that didn’t go quite as planned… or maybe missed the mark completely. What happened? What did you learn? Submit to present your failure during December’s live Fail Fest where participants will vote on the most epic failure and have an open forum to share their own experiences and lessons learned. Step One: Submit your failureStep Two: Register for the Dec. 5 Fail FestStep Three: See you Dec. 5!
Tuesday Nov. 20: Extended Deadline - Non-Profit Boot Camp RFP: Communications Course, anyone?! We got some GREAT proposals for the spring Non-Profit Boot Camp series, but there’s one topic that you’ve been asking for that we didn’t see in the mix: Strategic Communications. We’ve extended the deadline in the hopes of finding a communications strategist to design and deliver a course f…

Upcoming projects and events - Fall 2018

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On November 2, I will be presenting at the Horace Mann 2018 Spirit of Service Awards, "celebrating those who bring the Antioch University mission to life through their commitment to community engagement, diversity, lifelong learning, and social justice" (AUNE). Please join me!

Other fall events and activities where we can connect:
Hancock Elementary School's Harvest Fest with The Cornucopia Project on October 25
Soup Day with Community Garden Connections at Antioch University New England on October 26 and continuing every other Friday through the fall semester
Monadnock Food Co-op's Annual Meeting on October 26
Dance Party at The Hive (Hannah Grimes Center) following on October 26
Keene Farmer's Market on October 30
Feast on This! Film Festival with Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition on November 8-10
Thanksgiving Farm Fare at Stonewall Farm on November 16-17
Broke Arts Fair in Peterborough on November 17

Let's connect!

Place-based Environmental Education in Workplace and Community Gardens

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This week, at the C&S Workplace Organic Garden Project in Keene, Professor Sue Gentile, Garden Educator Madi Walter, and I co-facilitated a learning session as part of a course in Place-Based Environmental Education, part of the Environmental Studies Master's program at Antioch University New England. We toured the educational/demonstration garden, which was developed this year in conjunction with the Garden Resource Hub, focused on the learning goals of employee gardeners, and informed by the vision of Garden Educator Maria Dellapina, who worked with the Project in 2017. We discussed how principles of place-based education can translate into the practice of workplace and community gardening, and the students' ideas for extending the social, ecological, and personal wellness benefits of workplace gardens. The session was a valuable and enjoyable experience that builds on the tremendous work of many dedicated volunteers. Happy exploring!

Workshop for UNH Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener Volunteer Program

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I need to applaud the folks involved in UNH Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener Program, who are doing important work in our communities. This week at Manchester Community College's community garden, I presented a workshop, "Rooted in Community: Gardening for Food & Resilience." Here are some photos taken by Nate Bernitz of UNH-CE, and here is the workshop description:

There is are no garden without a gardener; likewise, there is no community garden without community. However, the direction of causality is questionable. This workshop will cover principles of community gardening and the big and small practices that enable gardeners to tap into the power of community. Community gardening can be a way to generate local food security, good health, and resilience, but it requires conscious investments of time and talent. What are the interpersonal and organizational tools of community gardening and how are they best used? Participants will learn about various aspec…

Joining The Cornucopia Project

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I'm thrilled to be joining The Cornucopia Project staff part-time as a Garden Educator.

The Cornucopia Project empowers our community to make healthy food choices. We do this by creating and delivering interactive experiential educational programs and teaching models, adapted to a variety of learning spaces, from gardens to classrooms and kitchens. These programs connect people of all ages to real food and to each other. We increase our impact by partnering with organizations that share our core values of:
Good HealthEffective EducationStrong Community My internship experience with this organization in 2011 essentially solidified my sense of professional calling as an environmental educator in community food systems. I was especially proud that year to have researched and written a Community Impact Grant to build a learning and giving garden which has now been providing fresh produce for the pantry at the Peterborough Community Center for several years. I'm really looking forwar…

Community gardening for food security, climate & social resilience in the Monadnock Region

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Along with Westmoreland Garden Project Manager and Community Garden Connections (CGC) Co-Coordinator, Rachel Brice, I was interviewed by Craig Dallas Rice on Cheshire TV. Accompanied by The Community Kitchen's Gleaning Coordinator, Sarah Harpster, we had a great dialogue about how local community gardening efforts are addressing the needs of people across our food system for nourishment, wellness, and connection - social and ecological.

See the video to learn:
What we are currently doing;
How our involvement feeds a larger vision for the local food system;
What we mean by "food security" and a snapshot of food security in the Monadnock Region;
Why access to fresh, locally-grown food matters and how Market Match and other programs help
The most exciting and most challenging aspects of this work.

I'm really proud of our work together and grateful to be engaged in these efforts with such talented and dedicated folks.



For more info about our local food system and how to …

Planting the Seeds for Workplace Gardening

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I'm proud to be working with C&S Wholesale Grocers and Antioch University New England on a workshop for local business and nonprofit leaders: "Planting the Seeds for Workplace Gardening." The morning workshop will focus on how employees can enjoy the benefits of workplace gardening and share the bounty of gardens with our communities. It will be facilitated by Garden Educator Madi Walter. Participants will receive a resource packet, chances to network, and learn from the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens model. The workshop is Tuesday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. at C&S's corporate offices on Optical Ave in Keene, New Hampshire . For questions: csgardens@antioch.edu. More info: https://lnkd.in/gxr7cmh

"Dig, Eat, Grow: Learning to Cultivate Connections through Community Gardening" at NAAEE 2018 Conference in Spokane, WA

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I'm excited to announce I'll be co-presenting with my colleague, Rachel Brice, at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) 2018 Conference in Spokane, Washington. Our poster presentation, based on our work with the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project and Community Garden Connections' Westmoreland Garden Project, is titled, "Dig, Eat, Grow: Learning to Cultivate Connections through Community Gardening."

Connecting people with nature and meeting local food security needs are often thought of as separate challenges, but community gardening can meet both at once. The key is healthy relationships that support the capacity to create and maintain community gardens. Participants will deepen their understanding of how to build and use their own networks to support efforts that strengthen connections between people and nature.

Our projects both work with diverse and underserved populations. We have developed several educational community gar…

Regenerative agrihoods and productive landscapes

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I'm currently following a story (recently covered by NHPR) about a proposal and neighbors' reactions around small-scale cattle grazing as a practice of restorative agriculture. There's a piece of land in Peterborough, NH, down the road from me, that was conserved some time ago and has since declined in quality due to inactive management. Stan Fry has proposed introducing a small herd of Belted Galloways, which would actively improve soil quality, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, as well as keep and enhance the cultural and aesthetic landscape that has always been so important to the people of the town. To me, Stan's proposal seems well-based in sound science and experience, and I am hopeful that residents will take the time to become informed about restorative agriculture, contemplate the potential benefits, and make reasonable efforts to move in that direction.

I'm especially interested in the possibilities for a regenerative agrihood, which is something I&…

Gardens, gardeners, and community

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Through summer 2018, I am continuing the PhD journey by working on a dissertation proposal that incorporates community gardens and community gardeners. While I have a bit of work to do on my research methodology, I know it will be as community-empowering as possible, as my research question remains centered around the phrase "food empowerment" and specifically what that looks, feels, and maybe even tastes like in community contexts.

There are tons of really bold, rich, and challenging ideas in the scholarly literature and around food justice, dignity, and sovereignty, local food and agriculture policy, community-based food systems, community gardening, and empowerment. The more I read, the more I am grateful for the community of published authors in this field, like Joshua Sbicca, Nathan McClintock, Claire Nettle, Heather Burns, Laura Lawson, Adam Pine, Charles Levkoe, Julian Agyeman, and others. (Some of their works are listed in my Resource Hub.) I'm also grateful for …