Kelsey Reville, Americorps Volunteer and Student, to Partner on Garden Book.

Things are going really well with your first community-based project, research on the Garden Book. Arkansas Tech University student Marie Williams was the first to sign on to the project as an independent study via our partnership with Arkansas Tech University (click here to read more). More updates on Marie’s amazing work in the very near future.

We’re excited to announce that we have another person joining us, Kelsey Reville,an Americorp volunteer and a student at Prescott University, a distance learning program designed for working adults wishing to stay in their communities.   She’s envisioned and created a unique partnership with us, combining her public work and academic research, and we’re so excited to have her on board.

Kelsey’s previous experience in sustainability work and community based research includes “conducting interviews with Mexican farmers to document their concerns and strategies regarding water quality and food production.”  She has also conducted community based research on immigrant health in Arkansas and worked at Heifer Ranch and with community gardening projects in Little Rock. She’s fluent in Spanish and has an interest in learning more about the connections between folk music and regional gardening traditions. She also has deep roots rural north central AR and the Ozark foothills.

She’ll be focusing her work in neighboring Searcy County where she will be working with Americorps via the Delta Garden Study, a project of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute.  She will be working directly with the Searcy County School District to provide comprehensive educational support to a school garden program.  According to Reville, “ACH Research Institute seeks to prevent childhood illness through education on healthy lifestyles. The Delta Garden Study works in areas with high rates of poverty, obesity and nutrition related health problems to provide sustainable, healthy alternatives with school gardens.”

As part of her AmeriCorps work she will be designing educational curriculum that incorporates gardening and health education into a variety of subjects, including “working with teachers to co-teach and coordinate garden and cooking lessons.”  She noted that will also be “providing outreach to the surrounding community, seeking to involve a variety of community members in the garden.”

So here’s how this all fits in with our work at the McElroy House.  As part of her classes and community work via Prescott College and a partnership with us, Kelsey has designed a “community based research project to conduct in Searcy County to identify community members with experience and perspectives in local food production.  I will collect oral histories and transfer cultural knowledge into academic lessons and community education materials involving the garden.”

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