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Piecing together my own map: Choosing a dissertation off the beaten path, and other metaphors

I have been learning a lot about autoethnographic research over the last month. Here is a paragraph from my dissertation proposal about the potentially bewildering (but nonetheless exciting) adventure ahead:

Figuratively and sometimes literally, both autoethnography and dissertation research entail moving through uncharted territory. Anderson and Glass-Coffin state, “although it is generally accepted that autoethnographers ‘learn by going,’ little attention has been paid to the question of ‘how’ one learns and how one ‘does’ autoethnography… as a contribution to emerging scholarship” (Anderson & Glass-Coffin, 2013, p. 57). While methodological openness is a key virtue of autoethnography, it also presents a particular challenge for emerging scholars, who might “miss the trees for the forest” without a grasp of techniques of data collection that create the “bigger autoethnographic story or mosaic” (Anderson & Glass-Coffin, 2013, p. 64). In fact, Struthers' (2014) chapter on …

Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit: Invitation & Resources

On March 15-16 I will co-present "Feed & Empower: A Network-Based Approach to Regional Food Security & Justice" with Sarah Harpster, the (Keene, NH) Community Kitchen's Gleaning Coordinator and Rachel Brice, Community Garden Connections (CGC)'s Westmoreland Garden Project Manager (by remote). The presentation is part of the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit presented by the University of Southern Maine's Food Studies Program, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Campus Compact Maine. The Summit program and USM website have details. 
The Summit's theme, "Fighting Hunger in a World of Plenty: Shifting Power and Taking Action," is related to my dissertation proposal, which looks at the experiences of various stakeholders in community-based food systems (CBFS) (specifically involving higher education institutions) through the lens of community empowerment. I'm honored to be co-presenting with two women who embody the spiri…

Upcoming professional opportunities

Here are some of the places you'll find me through the next two months. I hope to see you there!

Friday, February 8: Soup Day presented by Community Garden Connections at Antioch University New England. 11 am until soup runs out. Ingredients grown in the campus garden. $3 donation suggested, not required.

Monday, February 11: Community Food Assessment planning meeting at Antioch University New England

Wednesday, February 13: Community Table, presented by Windham County Grows

Thursday, February 14: Visit to the campus garden and cafeteria at Franklin Pierce University

Friday, March 1: First Friday Free Co-working at Hannah Grimes Center

Monday, March 11: Soil Health for Vegetable Producers at Stonewall Farm, presented by Cheshire County Conservation District

Tuesday, March 12: The NH Food Alliance and NH Farm to School present the 2019 NH Food System Statewide Gathering: Cultivating Our Collective Voice, at University of New Hampshire

Friday, March 15 & Saturday, March 16: Pres…

What energizes my work

I wrote this paragraph as a first assignment for Dissertation Seminar, which I'm completing this spring. It's about what feeds me as a community-engaged scholar and the bigger picture I hope this work will serve.

​Energizing my work is the desire to introduce a new phrase to the constellation of local/alternative food research that includes food justice, food sovereignty, food dignity, food access, and food security. This phrase is food empowerment and is based on the premise that the current industrial food regime has created drastic environmental and socioeconomic imbalances that perhaps an empowerment agenda can help correct. Despite their popularity, community-based food system (CBFS) efforts such as community gardens, community-supported agriculture, gleaning, cooperatives, etc., struggle to be self-sustaining and meet the long-term needs of hungry people. Further, where higher education institutions are involved in CBFS, their engagement with local stakeholders has produ…

A snippet from my qualifying exam + upcoming activities

I recently passed my qualifying exam, a major milestone in the PhD journey and a significant moment as a researcher and writer. My next move is to finish drafting my dissertation proposal for review my advisor and second reader to review, and then bring a third outside reviewer on board. This is what I'll be working on this winter.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share my two concluding paragraphs (edited) from the qualifying exam, along with some upcoming activities related to the work this week.

To articulate community garden projects in higher education contexts (CGP-HEs) as a reflection of both food justice and civic ecology means digging deeper into the meanings of both community and gardens. Each term is a richly interactive space where learning and action occur within boundaries of time, culture, and geography, with competition and cooperation creating the potential for interesting problems and surprises. Based on the idea in community garden scholarship that “community r…

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

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!