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Global and Local: Intersecting Ecologies on the Olympic Peninsula (Study Away)

Chimacum, WA, USA

Term Offered: 
Nat Mengist and students sampling foods at Finn River Orchard
Approximate Dates of Instruction: 
June 21, 2021 to July 21, 2021

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In this study away program, we will spend a month exploring and engaging in a variety of restorative, regenerative practices that may help humans navigate the climate crisis and current social inequalities concerning food and agriculture.  We will do this from an international perspective, situating local efforts in the context of global engagement with similar pressing issues. We will engage with both local experts (Simon Walter-Hansen, herbalist Michael Pilarsky), and agronomists from Cuba and Kenya, via Zoom.   Embracing an interdisciplinary approach to the complex challenges we face, we will weave together at least three strands of thought and practice:  1) hands-on experience in permaculture and restoration; 2) studying issues of food justice and food sovereignty; 3) creative grappling with the problem, through reading literature and philosophy concerning the human / nature connection, and students producing their own creative responses.

 We will spend a week in Seattle, preparing for three weeks on the Olympic Peninsula, in the Chimacum Valley. There, students will live at Mosaic Farm, a 240-acre permaculture project dedicated to restoring diversity to the land:  organic farming, forest restoration, re-meandering Chimacum Creek, and more are conceived as a holistic system for building a sustainable community that may help provide examples for post-fossil fuel life.  Students will work on the farm in the mornings, learning beside young permaculture enthusiasts; have time for personal, creative projects in the afternoons; and engage in academic seminars and other group activities in the evenings.  We will take field trips to local natural wonders, such as: Rialto Beach, Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Hot Springs, and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. 

Students will stay in the recently restored farmhouse at Mosaic Farm.  They will eat meals on site, working in teams to prepare locally sourced, nutritious foods, made delicious by themselves!  We will gather supplies from local farms and FinnRiver, a source for locally grown flour, spelt, wheat berries, etc.  The cost for basic food supplies is included in the program fee.

Courses: 
  • CHID 390: Renew, Restore, Reconnect: Exploring the Human / Nature Connection through Literature, Art, and Philosophy (5 credits I&S, VLPA)
  • CHID 480: Restorative Practices Beyond Permaculture (5 credits I&S)
  • CHID 499: Independent Study (2 credits)
Fulfills Requirements: 
CHID Cultural and Historical Engagement
CHID 390
I&S Credit
VLPA Credit
Total Program Fees: 
$4,300

*Note that the fees stated above do not include some additional costs, including, but not limited to: Study Abroad Insurance ($1.72/day) and personal spending money. These costs will differ by program. Be sure to read our Fees, Financing, and Withdrawal information for details about the fee structure and payment schedule.

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