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Our Think Again series of events are designed to “think again” about a topic. This year we are focusing on: Soil. Soil is part of our Mother Earth, a provider of health, wealth, prosperity and science. We will be focusing on essential regenerative practices, Indigenous knowledge, and a human’s role in communion with the Earth. This is an opportunity to dive deeper into these concepts to repair our soil and ourselves, as an act of love for humanity. ♥
Local poet laureate and performer, CJ Suitt, will lead us through speakers on compost, soil conservancy, Tall Grass Food Box panel discussion on Black Agriculture in America and outdoor workshops with clay and natural dye. There will also be an on-site farm tour, soil-themed art exhibition and fashion show, along with vendors sprinkled about the venue providing soil-related offerings, opportunities and information.
About CJ Suitt (he,him/they,them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, NC, whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. CJ was recently appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill, NC.
CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo, and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments. His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice.
He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other.
Copeland Springs Farm & Kitchen
Speaker Gary Gittere with the NC Composting Council
The benefits of using compost to create healthy soils for a sustainable garden and lawn.
The use of compost as a soil amendment offers a significant opportunity to bring environmental and economic sustainability together, for improved soil health benefits. Using compost will increase your soil’s organic matter, helping to reduce synthetic chemical inputs, disease suppression, and improved water management. Not all compost products are the same; this session will cover the basics of making compost and understanding the benefits of selecting the “right” compost for your planting and turfgrass projects.
About Gary Gittere
President of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Composting Council & Sales and Marketing Director at McGill Compost
Gary has lead the NC Composting Council for the past four years as it made great strides in educating the public about the connection between soil health and climate change, assisting farmers in composting and soil regeneration, and training new composting industry professionals.
Gary heads sales and marketing for McGill Premium Compost Products. His focus is on the advancement and presentation of technical training programs for professionals in the turfgrass, landscaping, agriculture, and environmental industries, including engineers and specification writers tasked with the development and management of programs for stormwater and erosion control in the NC, VA, and SC.
Gary is a member of the Green Industries Council, VA Composting Council, and member of the US Composting Council’s Marketing Development Committee.
Workshop* Printing T-shirt with Local Plants by Piedmont Fibershed
Discover how the plants around us can provide beautiful colors for the clothes we wear with this hands-on activity. Participants will create their own NC-made* one-of-a-kind t-shirt using a technique inspired by Japanese hapa zome, which involves gently hammering leaves and flowers to release their natural pigments. This simple, creative activity is fun for children and adults alike.
*This workshop requires an add-on ticket purchase for workshop materials. There will be different stations set up to complete workshop throughout the day. This a sustainable North Carolina made t-shirt supplied by tsdesigns. (sliding scale $5–30)
Panel Black Agriculture in America by Tall Grass Food Box
Black people have largely been expelled from the US agricultural landscape. In 1920,949,889 Black farmers worked on 41.4 million acres of land, making up a seventh of farm owners. Today, only about 49,000 of them remain, making up just 1.4 percent of the nation’s farm owners, and tending a scant 4.7 million acres—a nearly 90 percent loss.
The Black farmers who have managed to hold on to their farms eke out a living today. They make less than $40,000 annually, compared with over $190,000 by white farmers, which is probably because their average acreage is about one-quarter that of white farmers.
This didn’t happen by accident. Since Emancipation, Black farmers have had to fight for a share of this country’s fertile ground, due to a history of racist policies and land theft. From sharecropping to anti-Black terrorism, to exclusionary USDA loans, the festering wound of the agriculture landscape runs deep. In that same vein, Black Agriculture still presses on.
Gerald Harris is a native of Little Rock, AR. He is an educator, social justice activist, and culture curator. He is currently the Senior Director of Campus and Student Engagement for Duke Alumni Engagement & Development. He has a Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies, Emphasis: Social & Behavioral, and a Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies in Higher Education from the University of Memphis. He has a background and varied experience in the areas of African Diaspora centered education, community leadership development, grassroot fundraising and volunteer engagement.
Derrick Beasley was born in Nashville, TN born and Durham, NC raised. He is a visual artist creating at the intersection of community and my imagination. His formal education includes a Bachelors in Sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Masters in Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Georgia State University. His professional and civic background is in education, environmental and mobility justice.
He creates out of a sense of responsibility to his community and a desire to answer three persisting questions. ‘What would make this world better?’, ‘How can I work to create it today?’, and ‘What do I need to heal in myself to create it?’
Gabrielle Eitienne is from Apex, NC. She is an Artist and Cultural preservationist who uses Diasporic and local foodways as a vehicle to reimagine wealth, marginalized food systems, and inheritance. Her work uses oral history, film, cooking, and textile to examine and explore the Black experience in relation to land cultivation, sedentary practice, and agronomy. Creating contemporary source materials for historic works and knowledge.
Her work in creative storytelling and Diasporic grain research with James Beard Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson reconnected her to her Family’s roots in agriculture, in North Carolina. She has since been featured in publications such as Saveur Magazine, The Kitchn, Crop Stories, and most recently on Whetstone Magazine’s Podcast; Point of Origin and Netflix Series, High on the Hog Produced by Roger Ross Williams and Jessica B. Harris debuting Fall 2020.
Together they are the co-founders of a North Carolina-based Black Farmer CSA, Tall Grass Food Box. a platform to support and encourage the sustainability of Black farmers, by increasing their visibility and securing space for them in the local marketplace.
Speaker Soil Conservation Promotes Soil Quality by Rich Hayes
This talk will begin with a focus on what soil is, what it is made of, and some basic soil properties. There will then be a discussion about the soils of Chatham County and how they have had a great effect on historical land use in the county. Finally, the talk will finish up with a discussion of basic soil conservation principles and how they can affect soil quality. There will be interesting demonstrations throughout the talk that will help to illustrate important soil science concepts.
About Rich Hayes
Rich is a soil scientist with over 30 years of professional experience. In his career, he mapped soils on 5 different county soil surveys and was the project leader and principal author of the Soil Survey of Chatham County. He also did non-discharge permitting of wastewater for the NC Division of Water Resources. Currently, Rich is an elected supervisor for the Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District.
Panel Indigenous Wisdom: Seeds Sustain Life by Beth Roach & Fix Račhakwáhstha Cain
Elizabeth (Beth) Roach is Nottoway and is a Co-founder of the Alliance of Native Seedkeepers (AoNSK), an organization that was formed to keep ancestral seeds alive and to rebuild culture and food security in Native communities. Beth’s work with the Alliance aligns with her rural and agricultural roots and enables her to contribute to the resilience that is desperately needed in her region, particularly with regard to native communities’ cultural and food security. Beth’s current objectives with AoNSK are to establish community gardens and education programs focused on native seed, foster seed stewards throughout the region, build a business of selling regionally-specific native seed, design and implement cooking demonstrations with native foods, and build soil and climate impact metrics.
Fix Račhakwáhstha Cain is Skaroreh Katenuaka and is a Co-founder of the Alliance of Native Seedkeepers (AoNSK). He first discovered his love for agriculture as a child while spending his summers at a relative’s home just outside the village of Burgaw, North Carolina. Today Fix lives and works on his ancestral lands of Skhawakye where AoNSK has temporarily established its storefront within a tribal subsidiary business called “The Lost Colony Trading Post”.
Workshop* Clay Pinch Pot with Meg Toben
Workshop Seed Bomb with the NC Composting Council FREE
If you’d like to volunteer, REGISTER HERE
SOME of OUR DESIGNERS: (.. .more to come soon!)
Hempsmith is a craft clothing brand based out of Pittsboro, NC. We do the screen printing, embroidery and tie-dye at our atelier at The Plant.
sladesign is hand-made, one-of-a-kind clothing by Marcela Slade.
The materials for this collection are locally sourced vintage linens and cottons. Slade has her studio in downtown Carrboro, NC.
If you are interested in being a DESIGNER go to APPLICATION HERE
Soil-themed Collective Art Show at Smelt Art Gallery
If you are interested in being part of the show, please contact: email@example.com
Interested in sponsoring our event?
Check out our sponsorship levels below. All monies go to the design and production of this innovative, cultural event. Support your community, support soil knowledge, preservation and cultivation in a healthy loving manner. Support the arts, support local businesses and our organization.
For more information on sponsoring our event email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Potluck Brainstorming Session. . ..Think Again: Soil / The Plant / February 2021