By CriShaun Hardy
CriShaun Hardy is a senior Environmental Studies Major at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Visual Communications Intern at Edible Campus UNC.
Over the course of the spring 2020 semester, I had the opportunity to take on the role of visual communications intern for Edible Campus UNC. This position was facilitated through the UNC Environment, Ecology and Energy Program and the Institute for the Environment’s Ecostudio program which pairs students with projects and internships that allow for classroom skills to be applied to real-world problems in a professional setting.
What’s an Edible Campus?
The Edible Campus program at UNC is an initiative of the North Carolina Botanical Garden that works to create and maintain various garden plots across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in an effort to facilitate community engagement in agricultural sustainability. While serving as a resource for education, the Edible Campus main garden plot, located behind Davis Library, donates its produce to the Carolina Cupboard, which is a student run food pantry that provides food to students facing food insecurity.
Additionally, the various satellite gardens throughout campus are used to grow free produce that can be picked and enjoyed by the general public. All of the gardens are maintained throughout the year and managed in a way that maintains the health and longevity of the plots so that they remain viable for years to come.
While Edible Campus has both a coordinator and horticulturist who each act as educators and guides for the program as a whole, a big part of how Edible Campus is run involves the use of a student leadership team which works alongside the Botanical Garden staff to organize events, gain volunteers, and further improve the ability of the program to reach a greater number of individuals throughout the Carolina community.
The involvement of students in the leadership of the program has been a critical way of developing a bridge between the Botanical Garden and students in a way in which an appreciation for sustainable agriculture can be established and communicated within the campus community.
Creating Campus Connections
In terms of working toward the goal of engaging the campus community in the topic of agricultural sustainability, Edible Campus hosts a variety of events throughout the year and offer a wide array of volunteer opportunities for students, allowing them to gain skills and first-hand experience related to caring for and growing produce in a way that promotes long term sustainability.
The events hosted by Edible Campus include harvest celebrations, planting days, and a yearly Earth Day event which aims to celebrate the food and sustainability work taking place across our campus and greater community.
As the visual communications intern, I’ve been proud to work as part of the student leadership team and toward creating, editing, and organizing visual content for use in our outreach and educational material. This included photographing our various events and workdays, outlining best practices for recording content, and editing videos to be posted online.
I worked alongside another communications intern and the leadership team as a whole to contribute items for outreach like our newsletters and to produce educational materials like that of our Earth Week video series which offers various DIY gardening tutorials and nature inspired wellness videos. I’ve truly enjoyed taking part in this program and look forward to helping it continue to grow.