The University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Program is hosting a new series of six-part writing workshops this spring, focusing on the intersection of gardening, ecology, and social justice.
The idea for the event started with a group of graduate students who wanted to start a community garden writing circle. One of those students was Maya Kobe-Rundio, a freshman graduating from the Environmental Humanities program at U and a representative for the Torrey House Press.
“As the growing season approaches, this series will provide a space for reflection, generation and healing as we examine issues of food, sustainability, justice, storytelling, and the different ways we can contribute to our community, ”said Kobe-Rundio.
Taking place every other Thursday starting in April, the series features a range of speakers, including writers, poets, founders and other local influencers. The remaining sessions will take place on April 29, May 13, May 27 and June 10.
“Each workshop will be so distinct from the others, and each extraordinary speaker will open up a unique space for learning and writing,” said Kobe-Rundio.
Upcoming speakers include poet and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Salt Lake City Ashley finley, Diné writer and public health advocate Alastair Bitsóí, founder of River Writing Nan Seymour and founder of Mobile Moon Coop Rikki Nadkarni-Longino.
Nadkarni-Longino also helped organize the series. They work as a garden coordinator and seed librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
With factors such as COVID-19, climate change and the recent state of emergency declared due to drought in Utah, Nadkarni-Longino felt it was particularly important to build gardening skills and community as the gardening season approaches this year. They believe the writing workshop will provide a way for people to mourn, process, and celebrate small victories together.
“Writing is such a powerful way to reclaim agency and really articulate what you intend to bring to the world. It roots you in your own unique truth while simultaneously creating space to challenge your strongest beliefs, ”Nadkarni-Longino said.
The workshop is free and accessible to anyone registers. Meetings will be held via Zoom every other Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“At the end of the series, participants will have the chance to share their writings and stories with Torrey House Press for publication in a chapbook,” Kobe-Rundio said.
More information can be found here.