A Duke Campus Farm Thanksgiving

Food itself, in its very physical sense–
holding food in your hand or putting it on a table– is automatically this way to potentially
connect with not only yourself but with others around you. The Duke Campus Farm broke ground almost 10
years ago, November 2010. We built the farm to be a living, learning
laboratory for both doing intellectually rigorous work here with academic courses, but also
for working alongside classmates, working alongside faculty, working alongside staff
and neighbors to help make the space grow. Especially when we’re working with our primary
audience, which is Duke students, we want them to think about their impact in their
communities more broadly– how the kinds of work they do, be that in medicine and law
and policy, actually intersect with the food system at so many access points. Although we’re the Duke Campus Farm, and we
primarily work with Duke students, our gates are literally open to everyone. So we host open community work days every
Thursday and Sunday afternoon and we get families, we get neighbors, we get public school friends. So it’s been really, really important to establish
that openness to make sure that this space is one that is really as inclusive and intentional
as we can make it. What I’ve noticed over the years is that this
holiday season is really special because a lot of folks are choosing to spend time with
friends or with family with whom they might have cultivated long traditions of shared
food memories, shared place memories and a lot of folks, too, are totally taking advantage
of the newness that comes with being at, studying at, working at a place like Duke. Getting to hear that directly from students
as we’re working together at the farm, hearing them talk about different frames of reference
for what holiday means and what holiday looks like at different tables has been a really,
really beautiful thing to witness.