Recorded December 3, 2014. “Intersectionality” has been a buzz word on the left lately. This episode explores the intersectionality of gardening, ethnic and family traditions, environmental sustainability, cultural diversity and social justice, as experienced through the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Heritage Garden Intership Program. DSA’s Peg Strobel interviews UIC Latino Cultural Center Director Rosa Cabrera and Heritage Garden Intern Leaders Sarah Hernandez and Karl Novak.
The Heritage Garden curriculum… builds on research conducted by Latino Cultural Center and African-American Cultural Center directors Rosa Cabrera and Lori Baptista when they worked at The Field Museum, which identified a number of key community concerns and strategies for community involvement in climate action including gardening and urban agriculture. The Heritage Garden project framework uses an assets-based approach that recognizes the range of green practices that people are already doing, builds on cultural values and identity, and links community concerns with environmental issues.
Garden interns engage in many hands-on, educational activities that help to develop and maintain the garden and sustain their relationships with community partners. Interns research the cultural significance of plants in the garden, gather recipes, and collect stories from family, friends, and neighbors about their environmentally friendly practices. Interns participate in weekly discussions about readings related to environmental and cultural sustainability, visit community resources that are relevant to this project, and work with local artists to make creative and explicit connections between environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice.