2020 SRET

SRET Fellows met virtually in 2020 to explore garden culture, Black women, and K-12 curriculum. Learn more.

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 & Their Posters

Franchone Bey, English, West Charlotte High

“I am asking the question about what ways cultural identity and food deserts intersect and the impact it has on the community. “

Poster Link

Monique Hall, 5th Grade, Devonshire Elementary

“What’s on your plate? What are the benefits of having a community garden, farmers market or access to healthy foods? Where do the foods we love to eat come from?”

Poster Link

Veronica Hall, History, Cochrane Collegiate Academy

“A lesson that I would like to explore focuses on the economic impact of food deserts and food swamps in low income communities “

Poster Link

Abbie Hess, Visual Art, Independence High

“My life’s journey has brought me to this point of self-discovery: what it means to be a mother, how to support my own health while nurturing others, and how this all connects back to the ultimate nurturer, nature.”

Poster Link

Roxanne Miller, Science, Butler High

“How will the students’ understanding of health and wellness change by exploring essentials from gardens?  How will this change students’ attitudes towards their own identities (e.g., racial, gender, etc.) in relation to science? “

Poster Link

Darian Redfearn, 3rd Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy

“I intend to explore food deserts in Charlotte, the benefits of gardening (not only reaping and sowing), and having access to the time and tools needed to establish and maintain a successful garden such as land and fertile soil.”

Poster Link

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?