Event to grow knowledge of sustainable foods

Event+to+grow+knowledge+of+sustainable+foods

Isabela Ney

The seasons are changing and sustainability is the name of the game. The Student Leader Fellowship Program is teaming up for a community service project with Partridge Creek Farm in Ishpeming.

“Sustainability Sunday” will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Nov. 12. Students and community members of all ages will meet in the Salvation Army, 222 E. Division St. in Ishpeming for some hands-on learning and snacks.

Participants can drop in at any time and stay as long as they’d like. Knowledgeable staff from Partridge Creek Farms will be there to educate volunteers about seed-saving and teach them about sustainable food systems.

The project started as a class assignment from UN250, a requirement for SLFP members. Gwyneth Harrick and Marissa Lindstrom are the project leaders for Sustainability Sunday. They decided to work with Partridge Creek Farm, which is known for providing nutrition information and fresh produce to Western Marquette County.

“We found this to be a great cause because they work to eradicate food deserts and promote nutrition education in the Ishpeming area,” Harrick said.

Their vision is a community in which everyone can find affordable, delicious and nutritious food choices grown and distributed locally.

Recently, they have collaborated with NMU’s public administration program to survey and obtain statistical information on the impact of their latest project, a community garden in Ishpeming. The garden was planted this past spring on the property of Grace Episcopal Church. NMU public administration students will be evaluating changes in community sentiment, improvements in social capital and, generally, the impact a community garden will have on the local residents.

Focusing on sustainable food systems is not only a great way to learn about the science behind growing and caretaking, it’s also a huge contribution to the harmony of a community, Harrick added. Gardens and events like “Sustainability Sunday” allow people to participate in and benefit from getting their hands dirty by making new connections and supporting their neighbors in an environmentally-friendly way.

SLFP and Partridge Creek Farm will also be working in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Marquette Alger Technical College and students from Ishpeming and Negaunee public schools because it’s never too early to learn about reliable and eco-friendly ways to feed oneself, Harrick said. Sustainability Sunday caters to all ages and crafts will be available for a fun learning experience.

Harrick hopes to attract volunteer NMU students and provide an engaging environment for greater involvement with local residents who care about being environmentally and economically conscious.

This is an opportunity for some students as a resume builder but regardless of the incentive, the impact of this day will contribute to the spread of important ecological knowledge, she said. Participants can also log volunteer hours for civic engagement in the Superior Edge logging system.