"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

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!

Place-based Environmental Education in Workplace and Community Gardens

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

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

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

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

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: More info: