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Showing posts from 2015

International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability in Portland

I'm excited to be presenting at the On Sustainability Knowledge Network's 12th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability, this January at Portland State University. The theme is "Urban Sustainability: Inspiration and Solution," and my presentation is titled "A Scholar’s Garden: Inquiry into the Landscape of Food Justice Scholarship and Implications for Sustainability Education." This will be my second time presenting to an international audience following the IAU International Conference in Iquitos, Peru in 2014. I am thrilled to be visiting Portland again, and the Graduate Scholar Award supporting my attendance is an honor. Now, to figure out how to take all those food carts home!

Climate of Change: Good work to share in food systems

Re-posting this news from Antioch University New England:

Several Antioch University New England students, alumni, and faculty attended the New England Environmental Education Alliance conference held November 8-10 in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Many of the AUNE attendees also led workshops. The New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA) has a 46-year history of leading, convening, and advancing environmental education in New England. This year’s conference was titled, “Climate of Change.” AUNE is represented at NEEEA Conference by: Andrew Graham, Cynthia Espinosa Merrero, Dr. Jean Kayira, Jen Trapani (in front), Dave Chase, MEd (in back), Jess Gerrior, Dr. Libby McCann Dr. Libby McCann and Dr. Jean Kayira, both core faculty in the AUNE Department of Environmental Studies, teamed with students Andrew Graham, Jess Gerrior, and Cynthia Espinosa Merrero for two sessions. “Everyone Eats: Community Gardening as a Practice of Civic Ecology & Resilience,” offered tools, p…

Sourcing knowledge, sharing the journey

I had the wonderful privilege of co-presenting two workshops at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability (AASHE) Conference on "Transforming Sustainability Education" in Minneapolis this past week, and am so pleased to report that not only were both sessions really well attended, our participants were deeply engaged and passionate about both topics: "Re-thinking Options for Curriculum and Faculty Development: How will we take it to the next level?" and "Sustainability Officers: The Dream, the Sometimes Harsh Reality, the Reasons You Want Us on Your Leadership Team" (a video shoot). Many thanks to my colleagues for a great collaborative experience!

It's rejuvenating to be in the company of such thoughtful and skilled sustainability educators, and I keep finding new facets of meaning in "sustainability" (even if the term sometimes falls short as a tool to convey an idea). There was a strong voice for change in both workshops - tow…

Feast on This! Film Festival

Visit the Monadock Farm & Community Coalition's event page for details:

Produced by the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition and Monadnock Food Co-op, Healthy Monadnock Champions November 9 – 15, 2015 The 6th Annual Feast on This! Film Festivalfeatures movies that educate our community about the diverse issues affecting our national, regional and local food and agricultural systems. We chose films that will spark conversation and action around building stronger local, regional and sustainable food systems. FILM SCHEDULE: 5:30pm Monday, November 9, 2015 – Hosted by Prime Roast Coffee, Keene3 Acres in Detroit
A willful urban farmer sets out to transform an abandoned house into a greenhouse
7pm, Tuesday, November 10, 2015 – Hosted byThe Cornucopia Project, Peterborough
Lunch Love CommunityPassion, creative energy and persistence come together when Berkeley advocates and educators tackle food reform and food justice in the schools and in the neigh­borhoods. 7pm, Wednesday, November 11, …

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are - From NOFAVore Blog

Sharing this announcement from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) about "Put Your Money Where Your Values Are," a free webinar on institutional procurement tools for local and regional food buying - happening Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Here's the link with the description and details.

Feeding Good: Volunteering with Community Garden Connections

Here's what a Tuesday afternoon harvest looks like at the Westmoreland garden, where Community Garden Connections grows delicious, organic, healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs for local community members in need. It's one of the best, most enjoyable ways the Monadnock Region is working toward local food security and equity, and everyone is welcome to be involved. This is a great bunch of people to work with! Visit CGC's Get Involved page for info on opportunities to contribute.

Research & Rejuvenation

The first of three fall semester PhD weekends began with the Environmental Studies Colloquium, where Joseph Fire Crow graced us with the stories of his people, voiced through the drum, flute, and rattle. In Qualitative Research Methods, my cohort and I conducted practice interviews, preparing for final projects which will get us closer to our research goals. The theme for me, in both the colloquium and the interview, was rejuvenation. The hard work of PhD research happens in a kind of spiral. It is a calling far more personal and powerful than gathering up information; it is a craft that demands mind, heart, and soul. Fortunately, I walk in the footsteps of many others who have created the space to do this. Written on the back of Joseph Fire Crow's album, Legend of the Warrior, is a reminder that "the challenge to survive and thrive has always been so. How we express our experiences both past and present has also evolved with time. The challenge is to remember whom our relat…

How I spent my summer: Learning Domain Plan for 2015-2016

This link will bring you to my Learning Domain plan, a document that outlines my academic goals for Fall 2015 through Summer 2016. This is essentially a set of four syllabi I wrote to guide my own learning this year, which will involve diving deep into the scholarly literature, research methods, and professional networks that will support my dissertation later. The domains I've chosen are program evaluation, food justice & pedagogy, civic ecology & resilience, and a research methods "road test" - a research adventure across New England and beyond. Check it out!

If you'd like to know more about any part of my scholarly journey or want to be part of it, click "Connect" on the right side of the page.

Today's version of my research interests

Part of the PhD process is forming a central research question - fascinating and sometimes exhausting work, especially since it never seems to be "done." But, in preparation for this summer's course in quantitative research methods, I've written this version of my research interests that I'll share here:

I'm interested in the synergistic potential of environmental education and community/institutional collaborations to advance social and environmental justice in food systems. I want to know what environmental education practices, approaches, tools, and measures post-secondary institutions are using (or could be using) to both support and model such food systems. To me, socially and environmentally just food systems are community-supported/community-supportive, resilient, healthy, and affordable/accessible to all. I see this research as relevant to environmental studies because of the complex and dynamic relationships between food systems and ecological system…
This month's Monadnock Earth Journal:

This year I’m planting a hugelkultur bed. I know, I’d never heard of it, either. Turns out this agricultural technique has been practiced in Eastern Europe for centuries, though I just learned about it this year, thanks to YouTube. It means “hill culture” or “mound culture” in German, and although it can be used to grow any kind of plant in any part of the world, it seems to really be taking off among backyard vegetable gardeners in North America and Australia, along with other techniques of permaculture.

This is an area I’ve been trying to learn more about, since I’m interested in connecting with the Earth, eating real food, and seeing how much money I can save on nourishing my family. So, I figured I would give hugelkultur a try, especially since my yard is mostly one big hill, and also since I’d run out of scrap wood to make raised beds and this technique would not require any purchase of new materials.

The idea is, by layering organic materia…

A definition of resilience

I was inspired today to write this definition of resilience. Mine is not the only definition; check out Resilience, a journal of the environmental humanities, for a whole collection of mini manifestos.
It's the fabric woven of community, knowledge, and resourcefulness, the capacity to create more with less. Resilience takes a dash of that down-to-earth ethic, Yankee thrift:
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do
Or do without.
Add to this charter a generous input of compassion, the courage to change, and a willingness to dance with possibility, and you have resilience.

Keene Sentinel story on C&S Wholesale Grocers/Antioch University New England collaboration & PhD Fellowship

Here's the story!

C&S Wholesale Grocers and local university announce collaboration on workplace gardens By Matt Nanci Sentinel Staff | Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2015 8:00 am
Thanks to Matt Nanci for his work on this story, which allows us to share this great work with the community! For more information: 

Workplace Organic Gardens Initiative Unveiled

It's in the news:

“I am able to connect theory and practice, while creating opportunities to make a real difference in the community. The current food system does not work for everyone when there are people who must choose between what they can afford and what is healthy and sustainable.”

Monadnock Earth Journal for March

What words come to mind when you think of sustainability?

One of the rules to mind when speaking about an issue as dynamic and multifaceted as sustainability is to never assume everyone has the same idea of what that word means. I have a different understanding of it now than I did three years ago, and by Friday I will understand it differently still. Since I am interested in how people form ideas about the environment in ways that are unique to their own experiences, I took the chance during a ride home from community supper this week to ask my son’s two teenage friends to give me the first words that come to mind when I say, “sustainability.” Their answers were interesting. The first friend said, “Vegetables?” The second friend answered, “intelligence.” Now, let’s look at these two word associations. Friend One’s answer might reflect things he’s learned in school, at home, or from the Internet about the environmental impacts of food, such as the …

February's Monadnock Earth Journal

New Hampshire Agricultural Education License Plate

From the latest NH Farm to School newsletter:

New Hampshire House Bill 688-FN details the creation of a new license plate where proceeds support agricultural education throughout the state. Funds raised will be divided equally into 4 parts as follows:

1. NH Agriculture in the Classroom (increase student awareness about the food, fiber and fuel systems critical to their everyday lives - provide educators with curricula which teaches core curriculum concepts using agricultural topics - provide field trips, teacher workshops, resources, etc.)

2. NH FFA Foundation(a national leadership organization for students involved in the science, business and technology of agriculture - develops students' potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education - scholarships, training programs, career development events, etc.)

3. NH Farm to School Program(supports healthy eating and healthy food choices in schools by providing training to schools an…

NH Food Strategy update

Sharing this great stuff from the NH Food Strategy:

Clarifying Terminology: What do we mean by Strategy, Network, and Network Process?

Here is a brief explanation of terminology we consistently use. These definitions are also available on our website along with additional details about the Process.

NH Food Strategy: This is a 'product' that we are currently developing with the help of the Network (YOU), which will identify leverage points and action priorities for strengthening our food system. The format for the NH Food Strategy is still being developed, and feedback, data, and input continued to be gathered. We plan to release the first draft of the NH Food Strategy by the end of 2015 or early 2016. This Strategy will continue to be refined and adapted as needed to reflect the current state of our progress as a Network.

NH Food System Network: Businesses, organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals that contribute to the NH food system. Participating individuals a…

Hayashi snowshoe hike and conservation

Here's a story about great people doing great work in the Monadnock... (with a bonus: getting to snowshoe with them on a gorgeous, cold, sunny day!)

Fulfilling Hayashi’s dream
Dublin/Antrim: Partnerships makes conservation possible
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript - January 27, 2015

Iquitos Images

The winter break gave me some time to reorganize photos and uncover new patterns of thinking. This is a project I created for Ecological Thought during my first PhD intensive last summer, that I'm re-sharing now. It's good to remember, here in the thick of this ice-crusted New England winter, the warmth of climate and spirit I encountered in Iquitos, Peru. Ponder and enjoy. 

Political Economy: Questions for Spring

This spring begins my third semester in the PhD program in Environmental Studies at AUNE. Here I am sharing my first assignment for Political Economy, an introductory presentation based on two questions:

1. Today, what are a few words that reflect your research interests? Can you share why this area is of interest to you?

I am interested in the intersection of higher education and local food systems, and how institutions of learning can use their intellectual, capital, and material resources to mutually nourish the communities to which they belong in ways that are culturally appropriate, ecologically sound, and economically feasible. I want to know how communities that are building resilient local food systems are working with their member institutions, and what leadership roles, methods, and measures are of most benefit. From this knowledge I hope to develop a model for communities that want to build resilient local food systems in conjunction with colleges/universities, with the end…