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Grow, Evolve, Lead! Seed Libraries for Social & Environmental Change


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Seed libraries in libraries, free open pollinated seeds and collections to support gardens and gardeners

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Grow, Evolve, Lead! Seed Libraries for Social & Environmental Change

  1. 1. Grow, Evolve, Lead! Seed Libraries for Social & Environmental Change Holly M. Dean, MSLS Assistant Professor Student Success Librarian for Experiential Learning University of Tennessee Knoxville
  2. 2. What is a Seed Library? Seed libraries are community-based programs providing access to free open-pollinated seeds (usually fruit, vegetables, grains, and flowers), and related information resources. 1,000 seed libraries across the United States, less than a dozen facilitated by academic institutions.
  3. 3. Purpose of Seed Libraries ➢ Provide access to seeds and information resources ➢ Opportunities for community events ➢ Gardening workshops ➢ Community engagement, belonging ➢ Seed preservation ➢ Local biodiversity
  4. 4. My Seed Library Background Pellissippi State Community College, 2015-2017 ➢ PSCC Seed Library: collection > service-learning > events > course integration & expansion University of Tennessee Knoxville, fall 2017- ➢ Developing a campus-wide experiential learning program Food access & sustainability = program priorities
  5. 5. Food Access: Local and Global Perspective
  6. 6. Global Food Needs Predictions show that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people on Earth, will live in urban areas2/3
  7. 7. Food Insecurity & Food Access Food insecurity is the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food, and is a prevalent issue in higher education and a contributing factor in hindering student success. (USDA, and Dubick, et. al., 2016) “Food Deserts”
  8. 8. Food Insecurity: US State Comparison
  9. 9. Food Insecurity In East TN Second Harvest Food Bank
  10. 10. Food Insecurity in Higher Education Global Food Initiative, University of California: 2015 student survey 42%experienced food insecurity 69%purchase cheapest food; lacking nutritional value 29%difficulty studying as a result of hunger Reported lower grades or suspended study
  11. 11. Food Insecurity in Higher Education UC System 42% Rural University 59% UAA 31% UH Manoa 21% CUNY 39.2% Australian Universities 46-48%
  12. 12. JD Burnette’s Story “I graduated Highschool in '06. I lost my FASFA scholarships in '08 because my parents didn't have their income taxes done on time. I returned to school in '09 on my own dime. I dropped out that same year, 3 weeks before school was over, 2 humanities electives short of an associate's - because of poverty-related issues. While we made sure there was money for food, that cut into money for electricity and running water. I serve as a VISTA to make sure this doesn't happen to others. The HVC Garden and Seed Library are incredible tools for students of PSCC so that they can augment their budgets with homegrown food. The Pantry is the critical piece to ensure delivery of produce to individuals who can't grow their own.”
  13. 13. Seed libraries act as a catalyst for for change.
  14. 14. University of Tennessee Seed Library: An Experiential Learning Program
  15. 15. Place for Seed Libraries in Higher Education Goal: UTK Seed Library To engage students in experiential cross-disciplinary learning, fostering community through connections to peers, faculty, and community organizations, increasing awareness and understanding of global issues-- such as food access/insecurity and other social justice issues, biodiversity, food pathways, and environmental sustainability; and bringing awarness to campus resources. To empower students, staff, and faculty to lead healthy, sustainable lifestyles.
  16. 16. Mission and Vision UT: “move forward the frontiers of human knowledge and enrich and elevate the citizens of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world,” UT Libraries: Indispensable Partner UTK Seed Library: | Experiential Learning | Empowerment | Community | Food Access | Healthy Lifestyles | Inspiration | Sustainability |
  17. 17. Outcomes The UTK Seed Library will, ➢ Engage students & faculty through transdisciplinary experiential learning ➢ Facilitate conversations, deeper understanding of real-world issues ➢ Facilitate learning communities ➢ Create opportunities for student and faculty research ➢ Foster a sense of community ➢ Strengthen community ties-- University and the surrounding community ➢ Bring awareness of campus resources ➢ Strive to alleviate issues in food access
  18. 18. UTK Grow Lab: A Campus Urban Garden ➢ Course-specific experiential learning ➢ Food for Smokey's Pantry and volunteers UTK Seed Library ➢ Provide seeds & informational resources ➢ Facilitate workshops
  19. 19. Faculty Partnerships & Course Integration Environmental Climatology, Soil Sciences ➢ Lettuce seeds from Seed Library ➢ Grow Lab ➢ Scientific equipment to monitor soil temperatures FYS, Gardening for Life ➢ Seed Sorting Party GIS/GPS ➢ Study of Knoxville, identify food deserts & potential outreach sites
  20. 20. Student Success & Retention ➢ Priority for UT, and many academic institutions across the country ➢ Engaged learning = student interest & determination ➢ Removing financial barriers ➢ Food insecurity can be an insurmountable barrier for students struggling to pay fees, books, etc ○ Students living on campuses can experience barriers to fresh healthy foods
  21. 21. Student Success Beyond Financial Barriers Seed Libraries can ● Expand social networks ● Increase sense of community spirit ● Facilitate student involvement in community ● Increase awareness of social & environmental campus resources ● Reduce stress, strengthen mental health, and building self-esteem ● Support learning and research through transdisciplinary partnerships
  22. 22. Opportunities for Social & Environmental Change ➢ Course-specific and independent projects & research ○ Container gardening with assisted living facilities ■ Mental health, social work, psychology ○ Indigenous trees and plants; Pollinators ■ Biology, agriculture, urban planning ○ Community/neighborhood/school gardens ■ Health sciences, humanities, education ➢ Mobile Seed Library: Kit to facilitate off-campus projects and research Learning Communities
  23. 23. Guided Information Resources UT Seed Library Guide:
  24. 24. Seed Library Collection: So Much More Than Seeds! Seed Stories: Capturing student, faculty, and community experiences ➢ Photos and journal reflections ➢ Audio recordings ➢ Interviews Repository of Project and Research Results ➢ Lesson plans ➢ Data ➢ Written work ➢ Media documentation
  25. 25. Start-up Process Mission & Vision Statement | Core Values | Service Community | Programs & Services | Short & Long-term Goals | Action Plan | Partners | Budget & Fundraising | Leadership |Sustainability THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
  26. 26. Questions We’re planting the idea, you dig it?