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Humanities students get farm experience

May 14, 2015--Public policy student Emily Floros is focused on public health and on finding ways to help people improve their nutrition and access to food. Now, thanks to an environmental humanities class in which students volunteer at a local organic farm, she has new insights.

“When I heard about this class, I knew I wanted to ‘get down in the dirt’ — literally — and see what it means to operate a small organic farm and what that means to the community,” Floros said. “I realized how little people know about how they get their food and how hard it can be to make healthy choices.”

Aidan Leddy, with a major in criminal justice and a minor in journalism, is always looking for new experiences that he can incorporate into his writing. Leddy, who has had summer landscaping jobs to help pay for his education, said he enjoys being out of the classroom occasionally and working outdoors again.

“But now I see this kind of work as more than a way to make money,” he said. “I see it as a way to learn about organic agriculture and what it can mean to people and the environment.”
He and Floros are part of a journalism class focused on environmental issues, taught this spring semester by McKay Jenkins, who is Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English.

Students in the class, offered as part of UD’s environmental humanities program, read, discussed and wrote about a variety of topics related to sustainability, and about half of them also volunteered regularly at Fair Weather Farm in nearby Fair Hill, Maryland. The final requirement of the class was a personal essay incorporating one of the topics covered in the course, such as organic farming, and the student’s own experience with it.