This spring, I taught a short term class at Bates College on the topic of community writing and community gardens. Here is the syllabus. Below, please find the course description:
In this class, students will study and practice community literacy by reviewing literature about school and community gardens; by reading education research; by engaging in creative writing workshops; by taking field trips to schools, gardens, and farms; by developing and conducting workshops in Lewiston/Auburn community gardens, and by drafting reports about next steps for community literacy projects in area gardens, including a study of sites on campus for garden-based learning. The course will culminate with a celebration of community literacy that will include work written by Bates students and local K-12 students and a community meal of local food. Bates students will form teams to complete projects about opportunities for garden-based learning on campus, about opportunities for writing in community/school gardens in Lewiston, or about other topics that emerge from our work.
We were very, very busy, taking field trips and gardening, meeting community members of all ages, reading about education and agriculture, working on our own writing in various genres, researching garden-based education and writing pedagogy, and developing curricular materials that integrated writing with garden-based education–all over a six week period. Every week, we spent a couple of hours with third through sixth graders at the Geiger School in Lewiston, in a cooking and gardening after school program. We learned so much and I am so grateful to my students and our community partners:
- Mark Melnicove, Justin Deri, and Martha Poliquin at the Falmouth Schools.
- Rebecca Dugan, from Lots to Gardens and the St Mary’s Nutrition Center.
- Eliza Huber Weiss also from Lots to Gardens and the St Mary’s Nutrition Center.
- Kim Finnerty and Melissa Collins at Whiting Farm.