Learning Corridor Fellows Plan Old Forest Tour and On-Campus Farmer’s Market
Publication Date: 7/30/2012
The Rhodes Learning Corridor Fellows work on various projects for a healthy, clean, safe and vibrant community on campus and in adjacent neighborhoods. Recently, Laura Brown ’13, Victoria Elliott ’15, Danielle Jones ’14 and Taylor Sieben ’15 visited the Winchester Farms in Dancyville, Tenn. to learn about its mission/ goals and to bring back ideas for the Rhodes Community Garden and local community.
The farm—owned by Memphian Peter Schutt who has provided funds for the Rhodes Community Garden Fellowship—uses sustainable practices in raising animals and offers visitors outdoor activities including fishing and hiking.
Old Forest Tour
Elliott and Jones currently are working with the Overton Park Conservancy to develop a tour of Overton Park’s 126-acre Old Forest. The forest’s aged and virtually undisturbed natural spaces provide observation of a rare ecosystem in an urban landscape.
“Very few virgin forests (meaning it has never been cleared) exist in the Mid-South region and certainly none within a city the size of Memphis. Some of the trees are over 200 years old,” says Jones. “The tours create an opportunity for people of any age to learn about this natural gem within Memphis. We have thoroughly examined state education standards and fashioned the tours accordingly to create an amazing opportunity for learning that no teacher would want to miss. We really want to increase young people’s love and appreciation of nature.”
Elliott adds the Old Forest Tour will focus on student advancement and education and has the following goals:
- Preserving and celebrating the Old Forest’s historic resources
- Supporting the natural ecological processes found in the Old Forest
- Preserving and maintaining the Old Forest’s native habitat
- Providing access to recreation and activities throughout the park
Pilot tours now are being given to small groups of children and parents as well as to some Rhodes groups.
Local Lynx Farmers Market
To encourage sustainability in Memphis, Brown and Sieben are organizing an on-campus farmer’s market. “We want to encourage people to think before they eat,” says Sieben. “We also want the Rhodes community to understand what it takes to produce the food they eat every day, and to make fresh produce available to Rhodes students, faculty, staff and surrounding community members who might not otherwise have access to it.”
The market is scheduled to open with the kick-off event—the Local Lynx Harvest Festival—on Aug. 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. After the Harvest Festival, the market will continue regularly every Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 pm. Produce grown in the Rhodes Community Garden and by local farmers will be sold. The event will be open to all Rhodes students, faculty and staff, as well as to community members.
“We believe that gardens and farmers markets are essential to sustaining communities,” adds Sieben. “They not only benefit the environment, but they also provide a platform for educating and engaging community members in local food systems. Hopefully, as people get more involved in these food systems, they will form new relationships cemented in a shared enthusiasm for local sustainability.”