Summertown, Tennessee, USA

Farm Ecovillage Training Center

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Social Justice Program


A 1987 study by the Commission for Racial Justice ranked three Tennessee cities, including Nashville, among the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas where three of every four African Americans live within unmonitored hazardous waste sites and landfills. For 9 years we have been co-sponsoring a summer day-camp, Kids to the Country, with participants drawn from homeless shelters and public housing projects. The Ecovillage Training Center hosted a successful pilot program last December as part of the Kwanza celebration, when it brought 20 teenagers to the Ecovillage Training Center for three days of immersion experience in ecological living.

The Green Neighborhoods Project 2000 has developed 11 neighborhood gardens and 3 compost demonstration sites in Metro Nashville. Last year it was awarded the Youth Garden Grant from National Gardening, Burlington, VT and its director, W. Sizwe Herring, was awarded the "Mayor's Acts of Excellence Award of Merit." GNP current programs include:

Each year, the Leaf Lift Contest collects 200 tons of leaves, diverting these from area landfills. Its recycling programs in public housing projects have attracted up to 85% of project residents. GNP has brought together schools, neighborhood associations and community resource centers to increase public understanding of land stewardship through gardening, recycling and pollution prevention.

Over future years, the Social Justice program of the Ecovillage Training Center will provide both direct and secondary educational experiences to thousands of persons and will provide a model for study, refinement, and widespread replication in a variety of educational settings.

Classroom work involves use of Permaculture Design Course, Global Action Plan, Pollution Prevention Pays, Green Lights and other curricula, including multimedia presentations. Outdoor work involves basic construction techniques, organic gardening, composting and sheet mulch, water and waste system management, and field trips to local examples of sustainable development in action.

Following the course experience, graduates will remain in contact with each other and with the Center through a regular newsletter, open database (serving the internet), question-and-answer hotline, information clearinghouse, and other support. Much of the course instruction will be put into videotape format for use by the trainees in reaching shut-ins, persons with little spare time, and other difficult-to-reach sectors.


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