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Showing posts from 2014

Excerpt from an environmental history paper to share

I like it when finally the words come out just right:

Underpinning my choice of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainability as an environmental history research topic is this idea: that past and future are not so much distant points on a linear time scale as they are reflections of one another. When environmental history is approached in this way, it becomes clear that the “farsighted understanding” it provides about the present moment is crucial to sustainability efforts, and to educating future generations of leaders. The global and temporal scales of the DESD makes this point all the more salient. An additional assumption in this writing is that the Decade did not simply begin with a declaration; it stirred in the minds of world stakeholders long before 2005, and it took shape around a vision that may or may not have considered the lessons of environmental history, at least not to their fullest. The DESD imagines “a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from quality …

New step on my PhD path

If the time between posts is any indication, it's been an incredibly busy summer and fall. I am thrilled to share that I am now the Doctoral Fellow and Project Director for the Workplace Organic Gardens Project, a unique partnership between Antioch University New England and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Here is a description of the work I'll be doing, and here is more about the C&S model with planning tools and other community resources. Many people's vision and leadership have laid the groundwork for this opportunity, and I look forward to bringing you more news about where it takes us.

First PhD intensive week and research proposal statement

I've just finished my first PhD intensive week, and here's my introductory paragraph for my final project in Research Design. It answers the questions, "Why this, now? And how?". Your thoughts are welcome!

Communities are complex systems, and their ability to “bounce back” in response to traumatic change(particularly long-term, chaotic, climate-driven events) is largely a function of quality and strength of connections that exist within those communities. At multiple scales, it is the relationships – of people to each other, people to the land, land to its economy, economy to its people – that determine a community's capacity to adapt and endure. Food systems are one of the best examples of how participatory education can create more resilient communities. These are places where everyone is nourished, including the land, and where everyone has knowledge and skills to contribute and teach to others. When framed as “living laboratories,” food systems provide the id…

What is "sense of place"?

I've just begun an intensive period of PhD work, so my posts here will be less frequent in the coming year. I'd like to share a short piece I wrote in one of my first courses, Ecological Thought. This piece is a reflection on several readings on ecological identity, and you're invited to reflect and share your own thoughts.

What is "sense of place?"

'Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion and appearance... till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality...'"

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

A sense of place is a complex mixture of sensory stimuli, memories, impressions, and stories which build a deep and lasting connection between person and landscape. To have a sense of place means to have directly and intimate experience with it, and to make meaning of that experience through reflection, comparison, appreciation, or some …

Kicking off Earth Week at Franklin Pierce

Monday's Earth Day Fair kicked off a week-long celebration of Earth Week at the Rindge campus. The fair was a joint effort supported by Farm to Institution New England, the Sustainability Center, Health Sciences, Environmental Science & Environmental Studies, Black River Produce, Sodexo, The Cornucopia Project, and several local farms.

Check out the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript story here. Thanks to Ashley Saari!

On Tuesday, several classes joined the Monadnock Conservancy's Emily Hague to clean up trash along the woods on campus. Today we'll plant more seeds in the campus greenhouse with freshman students, and I'll present my photos from the International Association of Universities' conference on "Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development" in Iquitos, Peru. Tomorrow, garden work; and Friday, the Sustainability Certificate students will present their projects and experiences at a special community share-out.


News from FPU on my speaking engagement at the International Association of Universities 2014 International Conference in Iquitos, Peru

Now posted at

Sustainability Coordinator at Franklin Pierce University Speaks at International Conference in Peru

March 31, 2014

Franklin Pierce University’s Sustainability Coordinator Jess Gerrior spoke at the International Association of Universities 2014 International Conference in Iquitos, Peru, March 21-23. The theme of the Conference was "Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development.” Gerrior was invited to participate in a panel discussion about the role of higher education institutions in sustainable development and assessing sustainability in university life beyond “campus greening.” A draft statement by the Conference on this subject will be contributed to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Aichi Nagoya, Japan, in November 2014.

Gerrior and Conference delegates expressed agreement with the need for higher education institutions to realign programs and policies with the mission o…

Monadnock Earth Journal: Students finding their sustainability voices

Friday, February 21, 2014

(Published in print: Tuesday, February 25, 2014)

This year, Franklin Pierce students took part in a “shout-out” to kick off a campaign called “Voices: Engaging Communication in Sustainability” being conducted by the student-run Pierce Media Group. Funded by a New England Campus Sustainability Forum mini-grant, its goals are to empower students with technical and professional skills to help them “find their voice” in sustainability. Students are demonstrating the role of media in shaping a culture, while promoting awareness and participation in campus sustainability. The short clip filmed that day is being incorporated in public service announcements for broadcast on campus television, radio, print, and social media, helping to get the word out on campus and beyond.

In classrooms, first-year Composition students are exploring food and sustainability by sharing stories, researching the sustainability profile of their favorite foods, and deliberative dia…

IAU 2014 International Conference

I am simultaneously thrilled and humbled to announce that I will be attending the International Association of Universities' 2014 International Conference as an invited panel speaker. The conference's focus is "Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development." Joining representatives from Japan, Mexico, Colombia, and many other countries, I will be co-leading a panel on sustainable development in university life and indicators for assessing impact. I'll get a chance to tour the Amazon River and partake in an opening ceremony with traditional knowledge from the seven tribes of the Peruvian Amazon. In addition to journeying and learning with some of the world's foremost sustainability educators and practitioners, I'll be there for the drafting and presentation of the IAU's Statement on Higher Education for Sustainable Development as the IAU prepares for the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in Aichi Nagoya, Japan in November…

Applied Permaculture: Workshops at Orchard Hill

Sharing this announcement about Applied Permaculture at Orchard Hill, from Village Roots and Transition Keene:

Saturday, February 22, 7:00 pm: TRANSITION COMMUNITIES
Join Steve Chase and Katy Locke as they explore the Transition Town Movement; a network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate change, and economic instability. Learn how Keene and other local town have joined this network.

Saturday, April 26, 7:00 pm: PERENNIAL HERBS & MEDICINE
Join Community Herbalist and Educator Rebecca Golden as we learn about her favorite perennial herbs and their medicinal uses as well as their multi-Functions in a permaculture food forest. In addition to this, we will have a hands-on demo of how to make an herbal syrup, that can be applied to a variety of wild crafted and home grown herbs. Cost: $10

These workshops are made possible in part by The Orchard School and The Farmhouse at Orchard Hill, East Alstead, NH. For more information: Steve Whitma…

Virtual visiting days at Antioch University New England

Virtual visiting days at Antioch University New England
Wednesday, February 19th
Wednesday, April 2 Wednesday, April 23

All are from 1:30-4.

If you know someone who may be interested in Antioch but lives too far away to come on campus, please encourage them to sign up. Visit or contact:  

Laura Andrews
Director of Admissions
Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431
Direct: 1-603-283-2131
Fax: 1-603-357-0718
AUNE website:

MFCC invites you to "Farm to School: Classrooms to Cafeterias" - Thursday, February 6

Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition invites you to the winter forum: Farm to School: Classrooms to CafeteriasFebruary 6th at 4:00pm - 6:30pm Heberton Hall (next to Keene Public Library)RSVP here!Panelists: Sarah Lovitz & Richard Berkfeld, Monadnock Menus; Donna Reynolds, ConVal Food Service; Jenny Wichland, Surry Village Charter School; Eloise Clark, The Hooper Institute

Exhibitors: NH Farm Bureau, Early Sprouts, NH Farm to School, The Cornucopia Project, Stonewall Farm, Keene SC Sustainability, The Hooper Institute
Stations: Monadnock Menus, Surry Village Charter School, NH Healthy Eating Active Living, Keene State College Dietetic Internship Through presentations, takeaways, displays, and learning stations, we will learn how other communities successfully implemented farm to school food programs, make available innovative lessons for learning in the classroom, and identify next steps for our Education Working Group toward the completion of our goals:
Improve students'…

Farmer Appreciation Night 2014

Sharing this invitation from the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition:

Join the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition for a night of merriment and tribute to the farmers who enable us to eat local, farm-fresh foods throughout the season, contribute to our community, and help preserve the rural feel and agricultural heritage of the beautiful Monadnock Region. This volunteer-run event brings farmers and the broader public together to kick back, eat, drink, and be merry together - and perhaps even dance a little!


Buffet dinner! 5:30pm-7pm

Featuring a dinner of many local ingredients,

generously prepared by Inn & Out Hospitality

and an army of volunteers!*

Potluck - casseroles, salads, and vegetable dishes welcomed.
Cash bar!

Dance! 7:30pm-10pm

Get your groove on with The Bump Road Band,

The Cold River Ranters, Contradance & more...

Awards! Oldest farmer and newcomer!

*Local foods are cooked by a fantastic & fun team of volunteers - if you would like to help …

Monadnock Earth Journal: "That global coffee with a splash of local flavor"

New column in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript:

That global coffee with a splash of local flavor

I'll be writing a new "Monadnock Earth Journal" piece every month. Your feedback is welcome!