Meet Ryan, Our CUIP

Allow me to start of this piece with gratitude. Gratitude for the cool winter winds that are blowing away that summer heat. I am grateful for the patience required as the last fruit on the trees are slowly becoming ripe. Also I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of the happenings here at PICA.

But, first let me share a little about myself. My introduction to the Student Garden culture began when I was a freshman seeking connection to this naturally beautiful place but, also searching for my own niche in the Campus community.  I soon became deeply engaged into Kresge Garden as we transformed that space into the cooperatively run container for personal and professional transformation through the intentional cultivation of leadership and collaborative skills. I then began writing grants, being constantly nourished by garden produce, and making lots of new friends in the process. Throughout my personal and professional development I have come to fully value and demonstrate the conscious creation of a culture that values a sustainable notion of success. The torch of leadership has been passed at Kresge and I now continue to share my gifts and practice my values at PICA as a result of being awarded into the Chancellors Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP).

As CUIP for PICA I have the pleasure of co-facilitating: community workdays, community seminars, student-run workshops, outreach events, and the student garden market cart. I will now share more about one of my most exciting projects, the student garden market cart.

Fall time produces such an abundant harvest that as the sustainable cultivators/neighbors we are, we offer our surplus to the community bi-quarterly in the Quarry Plaza. Not only are we offering the actual student-grown flowers, fruits, and herbs from the gardens but also the opportunity to engage with the life-changing work we do as student gardeners. The design and function of the cart is to offer the student-grown goods as an invitation into the student garden culture.

In the fall quarter we have done two market carts and both of them have been very successful, as demonstrated by our presence in the usual frenzy of the Quarry Plaza, with flowers in our hair and lavender to share. It is extremely valuable for me to actually connect with new friends and offer them garden bounty, sometimes familiar rosemary , or sometimes an exotic pineapple guava, and really feeling the appreciation of the community as they slow down and literally smell some flowers amidst the busy day. The future of the market cart has plans in the works to make the project even more potent and powerful as the multiple other student gardens join in the cause and amplify its potential.

In closing, I will finish with gratitude for ancestors who initiated this vision long ago, may our work be in alignment with theirs.

Peacefully,

Ryan Abelson, Chancellors Undergraduate Intern at PICA

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