UGS 2013: Week 1 Reflection

Week 1 Reflection:

Where do you come from? What story do you like to share with others about yourself?  What do you hope to get out of this seminar by the end of the 10 weeks?



8 thoughts on “UGS 2013: Week 1 Reflection

  1. I come from North Hollywood, California and was born in Sylmar, California in July 1991. I enjoy sharing about my ancestors, specially my grandparents and parents who are from various parts of Mexico. I enjoy learning about their past experiences before they arrived to this country, traditions and cultures in the family, the way the town I still visit was back in the day, and how its changed throughout the years yet remains the same. All this is something I enjoy sharing with others yet want to continue learning more about it myself.

    At the end of the 10 weeks, I hope to learn more about the direction I’d like to take as I step out of the university this year. I hope we can create a safe space to share how we see connections between environmental justice every day. I hope that I do not think of this as a classroom, as a space that is eye-opening, healing, and where I am learning more about others every day. Learning how we may all be related and not, how we can use what we know about the environment and expand it at a level that allows for creating alternatives while being conscious of how those may or may not work. I hope that we have lunch together, watch a film or two, and get to go somewhere outside of the university.

  2. I was born and raised in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. I am the youngest of four girls in a very large, very close knit, very Italian family. We still celebrate a few traditions that our great grandparents brought with them to America, but in many ways we have melted right into the melting pot.
    I have always held the ambition of travelling and moving around. It isn’t intended to separate myself from those that I love in life nor to avoid attachment. Rather, I have chosen to live this way (at least for a time) out of an eagerness to see and experience new things, places, cultures, and people. This, in a large part, is what landed me at the University of South Carolina, where I got my B.S. It is part of what has lead me on multiple cross-country excursions and even a few international stints. It is also a part of what has brought me here to Riverside.
    Since I was young I have always been enthralled by nature. It fascinates me (which is largely why science has become a passion in my life) but beyond that, being in a vast natural landscape brings me to life in a way that nothing else can. We are, after all, animals. Being in open nature is like being let out of a cage- a cage I, in part, build around myself.
    Is this a story? It’s a disjointed one so I guess I’ll attempt to bring it all together. The more of the world I see, the more in and out of love I fall with it. On the one hand there is beauty, innovation, and bridges. On the other there is separation, destruction, injustice. My story is that in bumping heads with all of it, I have come to value that is life which is simple, balanced, and true to nature. In all things I do in my life, I hope to bring these elements to it. Helping to create a more sustainable, conscious world is my objective both personally and career-wise. Throughout this seminar I hope to find and commune with people how have common goals and to learn from those who’s goals may be different. I look forward to learning more about regenerative communities and how to bring these ideas of sustainability and renewal to all aspects of life. I also can’t wait to get my hands dirty in the garden and to get new perspectives on aspects of sustainable agricultural systems.

  3. I come from Palos Verdes, California which is for the most part a sleepy village by the sea. Never really took an avid interest in the hiking/biking/swimming opportunities available to me until I moved to Riverside. And I realized how much I missed being close to a more natural setting.
    My perspective towards sustainability and the environmental sciences didn’t really progress until I accepted an internship with the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island. The work I did there had nothing to do with the progression, rather it was the people I met: urban gardeners, farmer’s market employees, vintners. Upon the development of our relationship I was invited to tour farms and wineries. I started to take the origins of my food more seriously. Because I had a rare insight into the lives of people who are desperately trying to revolutionize food production/agriculture sector.
    I want to receive as much information as I can regarding the topics mentioned in class. Honestly, thoughtful discussions and action will no doubt lead to a productive 10 weeks.

  4. I have lived all my life in a small town called Temple City. I remember very vividly one time in my life when my family and I were vacationing in Washington, DC, and we had just got out of the subway train to head for the surface streets. I was about eleven years old. While walking with my family, I saw, maybe even stared at a disheveled, African-American man sitting on a bench in front of me. To my surprise, he casually smiled at me and reached his hand out in the form of a handshake when I was close enough. There was something about that quick moment where all the things I drew from my learning and observational experiences up to that point told me to just keep walking, so that is what I did. Although I also didn’t have enough time to process what was going on, I primarily blame all the factors that shaped my attitude towards that one moment in my life (I’d like to think I was pretty naive back in middle school). Sometimes I think about that man. If we met again, I would undoubtedly welcome him like he was family to me because things like prejudice divides and destroys us. I am nineteen years old now, and I am very excited about what the rest of my life has to offer. I do not take the opportunity to live however I want to for granted, and through the prospect of that, I want to change this place for the better, especially for people who are at a disadvantage. Growing up in a dysfunctional family has opened my eyes and given me the values I stand firmly for — like justice and equality. Environmental exploitation, among other kinds of exploitation, is a large scale example of how things are taken advantage of. Fortunately, that’s what makes me tick. Any way, I look forward to gaining more experience with organic gardening, sharing knowledge among the group, and always having an open hand to help others.

  5. I was born in Los Angeles but moved to Carson, California when I was very young and I have lived there ever since. Many of my family members live in Louisiana and Texas. The connections that link my family together are strong but the distance that keeps us away is the reason that brings us together annually.

    I once talked to a homeless man who was 61-years young in Needles, CA. He said that he ran away when he was in his teenage years and did things that took his life on a different course. But only recently he had a strong desire to just be like the rest of us working Americans. Even though he was as old as he was, he didn’t let his ambitions get cut short. He wanted to get a job in Orange County to better his life. So for the past few years, he told me that he was traveling mostly by foot, walking for days on end from Mississippi, with some days where he would be lucky enough to panhandle enough money to board the train to get closer to his destination. We talked for a while. During that time, I was thinking of things I wish I could do, but couldn’t do because I lacked the resources needed to help him. The best I could do was offer to buy him a drink. Even though it was a simple act, I hope it made him feel a bit better, knowing that there was someone there to listen to his story.

    What I would like to get out of this 10-week seminar is the ability to see things in a whole new light. My understanding of the presence of injustice in our discriminating and degrading society is sufficient, but I would like to gain a new perspective to accompany my own. I would like to be able to apply my newfound knowledge beyond the classroom environment. There will always be injustice but it doesn’t have to be that way. I want to be one of many people who can change the world one step at a time; this would be a steppingstone to a host of other things that I would like to have done to achieve my goal in resolving issues that would be significant to the future of our society.

  6. Betsy Figueroa
    I come from a very small family. I have lived in different places, recently I come from the San Joaquin Valley, where the most I see are cows and cotton. The different events that happen in our lives and that have happened in mine are what have shaped and are still shaping me today. I am proud of this events and of my background because thanks to that I now have the passion to make a difference in many ways. I love working outdoors and like analyzing how to improve things without walking ten feet backwards.

    By the end of the ten weeks I hope to know my fellow R’Gardeneer’s well. Learn not only about issues that have to do with food quality or quality food accessibility, but about the bigger reality that needs to be painted with a different brush in order to be of better quality for the few and the majority.

  7. I come from a community called Home Gardens sandwiched between Riverside and Corona. I am able to walk down the street and greet my neighbors with a “Buenos dias” and recognize the children and their moms. This is my home and find ultimate safety and comfort here despite the prejudices others have towards Home Gardens. My ancestry is also a huge part of where I come from. I am of Aztec and Spanish descent. My mother is from the beautiful town of San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, Mexico and my father is from Temastian, Jalisco, Mexico. I am the eldest daughter of immigrant parents. Another place to describe where I am from, I have to say that I am from my household on Davidson Street. Being Armando, Ricardo, and Janette’s oldest sister is the best way to explain where I am from because they have shaped the reason as to why I am at any given place at any given time. Ultimately, I cannot really say I am from one place. I am from many. And the responsibility that comes with embracing a given space/community is very representative of who I am and that is important for me to evaluate especially when I have elementary aged siblings observing my every move. I am from Home Gardens, Spain, Queretaro, Jalisco, Corona, Riverside, UC Riverside, and where ever else I choose to reside for the time being.

    I like to share stories about my bus rides in RIverside. I am a huge advocate for public transportation, but it wasn’t until college that I have gotten a more personal (rather than logistical) perspective on the Riverside Transit Agency, mainly because I ride the bus an average of 10 times per week. I was on my way to Downtown Riverside for work from my mother’s house in Home Gardens over winter break. I hurried off to the Grant bus stop where an older man was already waiting there. He was sitting on the brown bus bench leaning his upper torso on his cane. As I walked toward him I smiled and said, “Hello!” I was unsure whether or not to say it english or spanish… There have been a few instances where I assume someone speaks spanish and someone surprises me with an english response. The man replied, “Hello.” His voice was very deep and musky. He looked at me surprised I had greeted him. I stood there for the bus and he asked me in spanish if I was going to downtown and I said yes, in spanish of course. We didn’t speak after that. The bus rolled up and he allowed me to go first even though I was going to wait until he got on. After all he had a cane and I figured it was just common courtesy. I sat towards the back and he sat in the front. I noticed he didn’t even use the ramp the bus driver usually pulls down for handicapped folks. I merely just sat in the back for a while playing Bejewled on my phone until around the bus got to Pierce. The older man came over to where I sat and asked to sit next to me. I didn’t see a problem with it. He said he just wanted someone to talk to, I smiled. At first I wasn’t sure if I should even talk to this gentelman, although I love the bus there are several creeps that get on. I was courteous to the man, and participated in the conversation. He was asking if I was from Home Gardens and turns out he was too. Over the past few years there have been several people moving in out of Home Gardens due to the recent recession, so it was difficult to keep up with new comers and veterans. During our conversation we talked about the history of Home Gardens, the people, we talked about his sons and daughters, he asked if I was going to school and what I was doing, it was a very pleasant converastion. He asked me if I knew where the law office that he was going to was. It just so happened that I did so he asked if I could walk him to the place because he wasn’t very sure. I said that I most definitely would, especially because I had about 2 hours before I had to go into work. It was a marvelous coincidence. After I walked him back to the correct bus stop he offered to give me $10 for doing him the favor. I wasn’t going to take the money, but he insisted that it was of sincere gratitude and that I could use the money to go buy a burger or something. I smiled and took the money. We said our farewell at the bus stop and he said that his name was Manuel and he told me that I was a very bright, young lady and to be careful when I am out alone. He also said that he was very grateful that I had listened to him and did him the favor, and that he was going to tell his daughters about me! I departed very humbled and grateful and happy for my bus ride conversation. Manuel definitely showed me how important it is to listen and help someone out if we are able. He also reminded me of the importance it is to talk to the elderly of our communities. They have so much to share, so much wisdom and experience, and that is true gold.

    I hope to be able to further conncet my school, work, friends, family, work, and hobbies together. Interdisciplinary education and life long, continual education is something I am very passionate about and I hope that the Urban Garden Seminar can help me incorporate these values even further into each other.

  8. I come from a small place in L.A called Bell Gardens and was born in a small place in Colorado called Fort Morgan. I have three brothers who I am close to and a mother who raised us on her own. I like keeping to my self and at first, talk only when its necessary.
    What I hope to get out of this ten week seminar, is that I would like to learn as much as possible about gardening, environmental law, and the environment in general. I would like learn how to plant a different variety of things and know what rotations would be best to have or on what type of soil and what type of compost would be best. I would like to learn some different types of laws regarding the environment. So, how is it that oil industries get away with all the chaos and destruction they create world wide and why it is that other more sustainable and safer fuels are frowned upon or prohibited such as hemp and solar panels. Lastly, I would just like to learn some Eco friendly tips about things I may over look on my daily life. Just to learn as much as I can so I could put what I learn into action; because I would like leave this world knowing that I made it a little better then before I was born.

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