February 28, 2024

Service Focus

by Tessa Desmond in Projects

Members of the Service Focus Food Justice Cohort (2023-2024) at the Fall Convening of the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance in Nov 2023.  Photo by Tessa Lowinske Desmond.

Service Focus Program, Food Justice Cohort

Faculty Leads: Tessa Lowinske Desmond and Matt Lynn

Collaborating Partners: Pace Center for Civic Engagement

The Seed Farm is staffed by students all year.  During the summer, interns from various programs across campus come together to plant and tend the crops.  During the school year, The Seed Farm serves as a home base for the Food Justice Cohort of the Service Focus Program hosted by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement.  Along the way, students in select classes and programs also volunteer for short durations.  

A description of the purpose and activities of the Service Focus Cohort is below:

The Service Focus cohort based at The Seed Farm will spend the year with seeds and the people who care for them.  At the farm we will grow rare, culturally meaningful seeds with community partners to support projects in food and seed sovereignty.  In order to do that work with integrity, we will also discuss issues related to agriculture and seed saving, especially as they relate to culturally-meaningful foodways, history, and storytelling as well as climate change and food sovereignty.  Relatedly, we will develop understandings of Lenape history and Lenapehoking as a place, legacies of historical trauma including enslavement and forced removal, and the interconnected and sometimes conflicting histories of race and indigeneity that reverberate throughout much of the work of The Seed Farm’s community partnerships.

During the fall semester, cohort activities will be structured around regular Saturday morning workdays at the farm (which is located 10 minutes from campus), a series of fall field trips which students can choose from, and a monthly breakfast gathering.  Over winter break, we will conceptualize cohort-based projects.  The spring will be spent working in teams on those projects.  Students should expect to get their hands dirty and meet fabulous people.  Note that working at the farm includes exposure to the hazards of the outdoors including ticks, bugs, poison ivy, dirt, and sweat.

Service Focus is a collaboration of the Office of the Dean of the College, the Program for Community Engaged Scholarship (ProCES), the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life and the Pace Center for Civic Engagement.

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