"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

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 remains the most important word in community garden” (Winne, 2008), this essay offers a framework to compare, appreciate, and challenge the respective approaches of food justice and civic ecology to CGP-HEs.
Such environments can “serve as a rich seedbed for social critique, knowledge creation, and social action" by offering opportunities to create meaning from the “everyday experiences of struggle and oppression that intersect with the complexity of our food system politics” (Niewolny & D’Adamo-Damery, 2014). They offer a capacity for practitioners to connect the immediacy of their own situations with larger food system change and for scholars to experience how "learning in a garden… is to be in a constant state of environmental and social activism” (Gaylie, 2009). While other spaces may also convene food justice and civic ecology praxis, gardens hold particular meaning for those who see the "garden as environment, garden as community, garden as transformation" (Gaylie, 2009). Community gardeners are not only “producers of food, community and culture but also generators of hope, possibility and collective imagination” (Nettle, 2010). The intersection of scholarship in this context represents a space to explore new questions.


Upcoming activities:

December 5: 
December 6: 
December 7:

Interested? Let's connect.


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