2020 SRET

2020 Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET)

CTI sponsored six SRET Fellows in summer 2020 in a research project titled, “Mothering Earth: Black Women, Personal Wellness, and Land Justice” led by Janaka Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and director of the Center for the Study of the New South, UNC Charlotte. Together with an undergraduate UNC Charlotte Community Scholar, these Fellows spent four weeks studying, reading, writing, and exploring various themes that connect Dr. Lewis’ research into their PK-12 classrooms. Bridging university-level research into PK-12 classrooms through rigorous professional development is at the heart of CTI’s SRET program.

2020 SRET Fellows

  • Franchone Bey, English, West Charlotte High
  • Monique Hall, 5th Grade, Devonshire Elementary
  • Veronica Hall, History, Cochrane Collegiate Academy
  • Abbie Hess, Visual Art, Independence High
  • Roxanne Miller, Science, Butler High
  • Darian Redfearn, 3rd Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy

Research Description of “Mothering Earth” Project

Drawing from texts such as Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens and media publicity around Michelle Obama’s White House Garden and policy that resulted to combat childhood obesity and encourage healthy living, summer research fellows will explore the significance of community gardens in general and more specifically as they relate to Black women and girls in urban communities. They will help to identify community gardens around Charlotte (as can be located virtually), connect the significance of urban gardening efforts to farmers markets and wellness, and think about how to expand educational opportunities around urban gardens as relates to racial and gendered identities.

A specific opportunity relating to UNC Charlotte will be to serve as a summer committee member on the Carolina Trail Gardens curriculum committee (targeting 4th grade educational standards) to think about community engaged educational opportunities and how the gardens can serve children in Charlotte specifically.

In addition to research topics, fellows are encouraged to create their own curricula around uses of gardens, including books to teach students about gardening and context for where local gardens are located (and what they provide to/how they might engage the community).

Potential topics related to garden culture and Black women’s narratives:

  • Gardening/food production as a civil right: Black women and food justice connected to local and/or national platforms
  • Black women’s domains over garden cultures; children’s access to gardening/food production opportunities
  • Connections between gardens and health/nursing, wellness culture.
  • Connection between gardens and food access (cooking, recipes)
  • Gardens and school nutrition (can specifically relate to CMS)
  • Gardens and farmers markets–what is the pipeline? Examples: Rosa Parks Farmers
  • Market (West Corridor, Charlotte); Bulb Mobile Market (4 access sites)
  • Community relationships among funders, chefs, nutritionists, and community members (contact with Charlotte Mecklenburg Food Policy)–who is planting/funding/using the gardens? How is access granted?