Because traveling the globe for service learning was not possible this year, seniors found opportunities closer to home. For ten of them, that meant working at and learning from Trenton’s Capital City Farm and manager Logan Davis ’10.
Over the last decade, a two-acre lot next to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) has grown into a productive urban farm, bearing fruit—or at least vegetables—to be used at TASK. Logan is still relatively new to the job, though hardly new to the area (he grew up on the GS campus with faculty/staff parents). He was a natural for the position because of his passion not only for sustainable farming and bringing healthy produce to food deserts, but also for being a role model for local children, an advocate for racial equity in farming, and a teacher for would-be gardeners.
After meeting with Logan, Tom Hoopes ’83, head of both the Religions Department and Orton Dorm, began leading seniors to the farm on fall and spring Saturdays. There they helped with tasks from moving wheelbarrows of dirt and compost to planting seeds in the greenhouse. For many, this was their first experience growing food. “They really got their hands dirty,” says Tom. “It’s been a joy.”
In keeping with the goal of George School service-learning—to be useful, meaningful, and impactful—students reflect on their experience, answering not only “What have I learned about soil, agriculture, and farming?” but “What have I learned about myself?”
As service-learning becomes more integrated into the academic program and curriculum, more ways to connect students with urban farming may sprout up.