(This article was published in the Spring 2014 issue of Micah Mandate - written by Tyler Comer.)
It’s 12 p.m. on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon and Jason Adkins is leading a group of Trevecca students to the Perk Community Garden. While walking to the garden, he lists facts about farming in America, each as shocking as the previous.
“Thirty percent of the food around the world is wasted. We don’t have a food crisis, we have a distribution crisis,” Adkins said. “Less than half a percent of people now grow their own food.”
The 3-acre garden is part of the Trevecca Urban Farm, a growing cooperation between the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, local schools, business owners and community members.
The farm is part of the lab for the environmental justice program and the goal is to teach about food justice issues through growing, distributing and teaching about local farming practices.
“We aren’t feeding the community, we are teaching people how to grow food on their own,” Adkins said.
The garden produces about 70 pounds of vegetables a week including; beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and several different types of corn.
Volunteers from all over the world have come to work on the farm to learn about sustainable farming practices.
Over the summer, Trevecca partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to work with a high school academy that focuses on agricultural and the environment.
The program brought 25 students from 11 different countries to campus for a week- long farm camp designed to teach students everything from working in a greenhouse to composting. Students had the option to become farm interns at the end of the camp and spent hours helping on the farm and leading volunteer groups.
The educational goal of the farm is to get at the roots of food security issues.
Adkins cites Henry David Thoreau who once said “for every 1000 people hacking at the branches of a problem, there is only one person hacking at the roots.”