I have never been someone who was particularly concerned by the prospect of disaster, “natural” or not. Growing up in California, first in Southern California and later in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range, I was often told about my danger of being caught in an earthquake or a wildfire, but this was something that seemed far away, as if it would never actually happen to be me personally, despite knowing the risks. If you also can admit to this, I am here to tell you that I now teach a class on disaster management and can say we are certainly not alone!
When I think of my summer, I think of the Student Organic Garden Association, or SOGA, the garden where I spent long afternoons in between work and classes, getting leaves, sticks, and even caterpillars in my hair, scratches from blackberry bush thorns and purple stains from its fruit on my hands, and endless gratitude to be in this place, at this time.
Only a block from campus on the northwest side, any student of any major can stick their hands in some soil in the garden, pull the always plentiful weeds, make art, harvest and eat food, or just simply relax on the porch swing. Through the chain link fence you can see the ground in the Student Organic Garden is over a foot higher than the sidewalk outside, the soil built up by years of students and community members loving the land, using the space to gather and to grow not only food, but themselves as well.