UGS 2013: Final Reflection

In 1 or more pages, please explain the project you helped developed and what next steps you will take to continue it (if you decide to, and if not explain why and talk about one you would like to take part in). In what ways is this project relevant to reading topics covered in 2 or more weeks? (Please be specific).

  • This reflection is required for faculty mentors, make sure to write in paragraph form for them! 
  • Doesn’t have to take place at the UCR Community Garden 
  • Can connect to work outside of the university
  • Weekly readings are posted online under “Programs<UGS 2013”
  • If you need some guidance, use the 4W’s and H framework (what, where, why, when, who, how).

7 thoughts on “UGS 2013: Final Reflection

  1. I have created a 3 week garden curriculum to facilitate at Operation SafeHouse. SafeHouse is a shelter for youth in crisis in Riverside. I am a mental health outreach Peer Youth Leader in Arlanza and Eastside Riverside. I also help teach creative writing at the actual shelter. My supervisor thought it would be great to engage the youth there in gardening (since they have an empty plot at the shelter), and she asked me to develop a curriculum since I am the only one in my team that knows anything about gardening. Over the course of the seminar I have noticed my own desire, and of my peers, to engage in hands-on activities. No one wants to sit through another lecture. We want to get our hands dirty! And that is why I am going to re-develop the garden curriculum I have created for SafeHouse youth because there is too much of me talking and not enough community building and hands-on work. This project is very relevant to the readings we have done in the seminar because I am exploring different pedagogy in order to improve class engagement. The readings that particularly connect to my project are the ones about Sara Kruzan because it relates a lot to what the youth at SafeHouse may be going through. Human trafficking is a very crucial topic in Riverside and we need to have that dialogue. I need to find a way to connect social justice or personal trauma into the garden work so it can be a healing space rather than a lecture. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Urban Garden Seminar. It has made me question and challenge, as well as be challenged, on a variety of ideas and concepts. There needs to be more Seminars that break traditional classroom learning, because that is where the best learning, connections, and discoveries are made, just like my project!

  2. I have been working with the garden design group to develop a permaculture design for the community garden. We’ve made a lot of great progress but there is still plenty of work to be done. We started by making an elements list of all the elements we would like to incorporate in the garden both now and in the future. We met to filter through these ideas and ensure we were taking a forward-looking approach in terms of the elements we thought were necessary. We then took a large aerial map of the garden area and sketched out all of the natural flows of this system, including sunlight, wind, water, noise, smells, local sources of pesticide pollution, etc. These flows helped us to determine where to place our elements and what needs the garden may have that we hadn’t yet accounted for. For instance, where the Santa Anna winds sweep through the garden, we found a necessity for a wind break. Next, we started playing around with where to place our elements in terms of accessibility and practicality. This helped us to determine our zones, or priority areas. Despite making good progress on element placement, there is a lot more to consider before making any decisive plans on where they should go until we have made a better assessment of the potential sustainability of the garden. The process we are using to guide this is an input and output analysis of each individual element. This means that we need to compile a detailed accounting of all the things each element requires and the “waste” or outputs it generates. This way, we can more efficiently cluster our elements to support and sustain one another.
    In designing the garden considerations also came up about missions statements and garden policies. In seminar, we read a few examples of expansive, inclusive statements with a clear voice of the wants, needs, and goals of the community presenting it. These will be helpful and instructive in constructing our own missions statement. The garden will be supporting opportunities for alternative pedagogy, as discussed in the week 2 readings. We will incorporate an outdoor classroom to bring learning experiences outdoors. Perhaps more significantly, the garden will be displaying a wide variety of sustainable agriculture techniques. We hope that visitors to the garden will be able to use this diverse range of techniques and management practices in there own garden spaces, as well as to further understanding and research initiatives in sustainable agricultural systems. Personally, I currently study sustainable agriculture and so am both passionate about being involved in this project and getting others involved. Time is not something I have an excess of to contribute, however, I do plan to remain as active as I am able in helping with the garden design process and implementing the design ideas.

  3. The Urban Garden Seminar was a really great experience, and I feel it did help me develop my thoughts about the surrounding environment.
    In doing the final project, I joined the Zine group. Before I started I had planned to make an “employment opportunity” section for the garden, because I feel that it is very hard for students to find jobs right after they graduate recent years, and I would like to create opportunities for them to work for the garden that is closer to our school. Maybe I can open a flea market so more people can access to our food and less food will to wasted. However, the research of it was very limited and not very useful, I decided to join the Zine group. By working in this group, I wanted to help express the idea of our garden so that more people will join us. For the Zine, I wrote a little reflection regarding how I feel about the seminar, the garden, and my plan on how to help developing the garden, etc. Basically, I try to use my own words to make the Zine interesting and make more people interested in it. I explained what we did in the seminar for the garden. I would like to continue helping the Zine become better, and I also wanted to join the designing group. After hearing their presentation, I think it is very interesting and I want to go deeper on that as well. If there is space available, I would like to experience what it is like to design a garden or actually put physical work to the garden.
    I would like to relate the article Not an Indian Tradition: The Sexual Colonization of Native Peoples by ANDREA SMITHR. The author states in the very first paragraph “Rape as “nothing more or less” than a tool of patriarchal control undergirds the philosophy of the white-dominated anti-violence against women movement” (Smith, 70). Rape is a very common topic that exists in our society right now. It is not only physical violence toward women but also psychologically hurt them. For the victimized women, we can help them rebuild confidence psychologically by working with them. For those who did not have such negative experience, maintain the strong belief that women can do the same or better than men. In addition, by working together with all races, people can get to know other culture and to enrich one’s thoughts.
    I really enjoyed working with all the people in the seminar this quarter, and I look forward to join the group next quarter for having fun and earning units at the same time.

  4. This is the first time I have ever taken a seminar designed this way. I enjoyed every meeting, and loved the time we had at the garden. I learned more from my classmates and the facilitators in this seminar that I have in any discussion I have taken at UCR. Continuing the Urban Garden Seminar for the summer, and/ or fall quarter is what I am focusing my project on. I enjoyed taking this seminar;it was a relaxed and safe environment to learn in. The topics we learned through the course pertaining to Women
    As I read in Andrea Smith’s book, environmental racism and sexism exist, what I hope to include in future Seminar, is how can we as students and community members access these topics and others pertaining to the food system here in Riverside and UCR. The disparities are obvious, it is painted down University Avenue, the lack of fresh produce in comparison to fast food restaurants is obvious. Through the seminar and garden, I want to organize a cohesive community that includes people from both on campus and off campus organizations and community members. incorporate these communities into the seminar through the garden. I hope that through the seminar we can create a continuous dialogue about food justice in Riverside, while looking for solutions through the garden and community outreaching. There are many grant opportunities happening this coming quarter, so I am hoping to have a proposal drafted in the coming weeks.

  5. The Urban Garden Seminar was a great experience that not only opened a new way of thinking about sustainability, but also about our surroundings as a whole and their impact on us and that impact we have on our surroundings and community. It was my first time being involved in such seminar, the individuals I met and the subjects we discussed were interesting. I was a part of the Zine Team. We worked on the UGS Zine, which is a sort of magazine that represents the UCR Community Garden with our our own individual insight. We plan on distributing it to 300 hundred individuals and also have it as an e-magazine. An e-magazine would be more easily accessible, while going green. Since the Garden can be most commonly associated with gardening and harvesting of plants, I decided to fix a page on how to grow a tomato plant. I chose a tomato plant because it is my favorite and because it is one of the easiest plants to begin with.
    Another of my favorite things, or should I say passions, is Education. I feel that through the Garden individuals from all walks of life can be educated about the importance of sustainability. Education as a whole is very important to our lives. It is what allows us to make a difference not specifically on the community around us, but within the world within us. Once we succeed at making a difference within us, then we can make a bigger difference in the bigger world. However, it is not all about what we do know, and Paulo Friere could not have said this better:
    What’s the point of boasting of having read twenty books—twenty books! Really reading involves a kind of relationship with the text, which offers itself to me and to which I give myself and through the fundamental comprehension of which I undergo the process of becoming a subject. While reading, I’m not just a captive of the mind of the text as if it were simply a product of its author. This is a vitiated form of reading that has nothing to do with thinking or teaching correctly.
    Learning through reading is not necessarily racing against time to read as many books as possible, but about analyzing what you have read and then creating your own opinion of the subject. Likewise, knowing about our environment, is not just about knowing the names of the different flower and tree types, but of analyzing how we affect our environment and vise versa.
    I am very passionate about education and I would love to get involved in how it works in order to make it more efficient in our ever-changing world. The video we watched, “Changing Education Paradigms” by Sir Ken Robinson allowed me to have a broader perspective about the education system and how it can be more effective. This video allowed me to have a greater belief that if we change the system’s focus from the Enlightenment times and focus on the current ways of living, then children would not be dropping out of school. Certain changes to the current Education System might perhaps bring about a greater Enlightenment era, that would allow our current world to be a better one for the most, not just the few.
    The minute I read about UGS, I knew it was a great project. I am glad that I was able to get involved this Winter quarter. Now that Spring has come, I would like to remain a UCR Community Garden fan and do hands-on projects at the Garden. Also, I would like to get more involved with connecting the Riverside Community and the UCR Community through the garden. How? I am not quite sure, but I am sure that with the Cultivate R’Space Collective’s advice and team-work, we will succeed in the various projects we each have in mind.

  6. During the final project phase of the seminar, I proposed to build a simple water filter for the community garden to use on workdays, since I have always been fascinated by homemade water filters and their abilities. I plan to use activated carbon particles to filter tap water from the faucet into drinking water. In addition, I am currently researching the benefits of ion exchange resin if I add it in with the activated carbon. The purpose of this water filter would be to help people understand the water purification process, promote the use of water canteens over plastic water bottles, and also to help people appreciate the value of clean, filtered water. As of right now, I have gotten mixed feedback on the project. My environmental science professor has told me that all tap water in the country has been treated to drinking water standards, but when I did some research on the topic, I found the city of Riverside actually having the second worst water quality in the nation, even possessing a minute dose of radioactive particles. I have also talked to Engineers Without Borders club and have their support in helping me build this water filter if I ever need help with it. Since this water filter deals with people ingesting it, I have been in contact with the biosafety officer in the UCR Environmental Health and Safety department to get his opinion and also to inform me on any regulations I need to consider. Although this project started to sound more complicated than I originally thought, I see this as a challenge I have yet to overcome unless I am advised that this project will be counterproductive. In either case, I also have a documentary on climate change called Chasing Ice that I plan to screen on campus towards the end of April to help educate students and community members about making smarter decisions regarding our environment. In terms of our week two reading, the famous Paolo Friere advocated for a more alternative way to educate the masses. I can see this water filter project inspiring people who are interested to appreciate the value of clean, drinking water. Stay tuned for more updates!

  7. This quarter doing the Urban Garden Seminar has been a wonderful experience. Having such a heavy class load this quarter, it was refreshing to walk into a space where people genuinely cared about your wellbeing. Every session started with a check in and ended in a reflection. People were honest in their replies as it was easy to always say what was on your mind because the group was ready to listen. I feel very luck in being able to have taken the seminar. I hope to still stay connected with the Garden as well as people I met in the Seminar.
    I participated in the Zine making group. For me, alternative media has always been an interest. Instead of waiting for newspapers and other media outlets to report on what was happening, you are able to spread news and knowledge yourself. For this Zine we hoped for it to reflect the winter 2013 Urban Garden Seminar. We wanted reflections of people’s experiences in the seminar, projects that occurred, as well as projects to look out for. In being a Zine, it would be a less formal, making it less stressful. We discussed it being our letter to the community, informal and fun. We also discussed including recipes and DYI projects as well. There was also the question of a printed zine was actually the most environmentally friendly way of distributing the zine. In the end we decided that having printed copies were needed as well as having distributing digitally.
    In it being my last quarter here at UCR I don’t know how well I will be able to commit to keeping the Zine going. I do know that what I will be able to commit to using what I have learned in the seminar and apply it in my everyday life. I have always had a passion in fighting for social justice issues, yet the seminar has reignited my flame to pick up projects that had taken a back seat to school. I would like to thank everyone who made this seminar possible this quarter. You all are amazing!

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