Koinonia Farms, founded in 1942 as an intentional Christian agricultural community in rural Georgia, confronted racism, militarism and materialism in a time when confrontation of these social norms was neither expected nor welcomed. Out of Koinonia's mission came the inspiration for Habitat for Humanity, an organization that directly confronts housing needs by assisting low-income individuals and families in building and maintaining affordable housing. The community has continued to thrive while maintaining its original mission of equality. Today Koinonia specializes in the production of chocolate, pecans, peanuts, and fair trade coffee, to support people within and outside of their rural community.
The Koinonia Break Trip will focus on the issue areas of food security and housing and homelessness. We will be working and staying on the Koinonia property, assisting with harvesting their fall crops and working on on-going housing projects, and working with them in any ways they might need. Koinonia strives for an open and interactive community. Therefore, we will participate in their community lunches and optional morning church services. Later on in the week we will spend a day in Atlanta exploring our Break Trip issue areas in a more urban setting.
Student Trip Leaders: Claire Lamberg and Katie Pannier
Faculty/Staff Learning Partner: Alisa Hove
Captive breeding of big cats has occurred in some form for hundreds of years. To date, there are thousands of captive-bred, big cats, owned and bred by private collectors all over the world. In comparison, some species of big cats are critically endangered in the wild due to lack of habitat. These captive carnivores are bred and managed by people with little to no regard for the animals' health or the conservation of the species. The cats are bred and maintained for entertainment, fur and, misguidedly, as pets. Many of these animals end up being found on abandoned properties, under-nourished and over-bred. Since they were raised under such circumstances, they will never be able to be successfully released into the wild.
At the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, several species of large cats have been brought in and provided a species-specific, lifelong home. They are not bred and are provided the space, nutrition and enrichment they need and deserve. With this Break Trip, we will learn about the consequences of reckless, irresponsible breeding and learn about the many ways that preserves contribute to global wildlife preservation. At the preserve we will do whatever tasks are needed to benefit the cats. Some examples of volunteer tasks that have been offered in the past are: clearing vines and brush from enclosures, building or dismantling fences, and other light construction tasks.
Student Trip Leaders: Maggie Small and Cecile Parrish
Faculty/Staff Learning Partner: Mallory Nuckles
This trip explores urban agriculture and the socio-economic issues surrounding access to green spaces with Lynchburg Grows in Lynchburg, Virginia. Lynchburg Grows is a non-profit organization focused on expanding access of those with special needs to farming, and we will be there to both assist them and learn from them. In an age of growing food insecurity issues and health issues related to conventional agriculture, as well as farm consolidation through the rise of monoculture, Lynchburg Grows focus on taking care of the earth and people at the same time. We will be discussing permaculture, vermaculture, aquaculture, and other innovative approaches to what community supported agriculture means in today's society and how it can be used. We will talk about how practical these are on a wide-scale, and learn how Lynchburg Grows is working with the surrounding community to increase access and awareness. We will also come to understand the role of agriculture in Lynchburg and Virginia, and how we can transfer that knowledge to our home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Student Trip Leaders: Beau Ohlgren and Charles Williamson
Please join us in Sanford, North Carolina, Lee County, approximately 3 hours from campus to examine the interconnectedness between grassroots service and lobbying to North Carolina Representatives. Saint Luke church in Lee County has graciously donated their space for break trip participants to use during the stay. We will be working with Habitat for Humanity and other service agencies in Lee County. The focal point of this trip is National Association of Social Workers Lobby Day in Raleigh, North Carolina. While attending, students have the opportunity to lobby for the policies they find important. Furthermore students can sit-in on the General Assembly meeting and committee hearings.
Student Trip Leaders: Patrick Downing and Kristen McQuade
Join us for a conservation break-trip to the Missouri Ozarks! We'll be travelling to many sites around St. Louis restoring natural prairie, glade, and woodland environments. Prior to European settlement, the Midwest of the United States was a sea of grasses and wildflowers that supported a complex and vibrant ecosystem. The land was degraded by over a century of agriculture and development, but an enthusiastic movement of government workers, private landowners, and volunteers has recently taken on the task of restoring it. On this trip, we will do on-the-ground conservation work. We will also talk to professionals and community members about the challenges of restoring degraded habitat, as well as discussing the accessibility of the conservation movement to diverse groups of people. We will do educational work with children and learn more about engaging youth in conservation. We're also going to be camping and will tour the impressive Cahokia mounds of the ancient Mississippian culture.
Student Trip Leaders: Emily Ehley and Rob Compton
Welcome to Slade, a small town in central Kentucky. There are two gas stations, a pizza joint, The Lil’ Abner Motel and the most magnificent cliffs you’ll ever see. Rock climbers and hikers alike flock from around the world to this incredible geologic area in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the foothills of the Appalachians. The economy relies very heavily on the tourism brought in by places like Natural Bridge State Park and the hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the Red River Gorge. In 2011, Muir Valley, a nature preserve located just next to Slade, had an estimated 35,000 visitors. As a result trails erode, trash piles up, and the signature of humans can be seen everywhere. On this trip, we will work with the Muir Valley landowners to help repair damage done to the land, clear invasive species, and educate ourselves to help spread the word about care and conservation. Our work with the land owners allows them to continue to maintain their land as well as provide free access to climbers and hikers alike.
Trip Leaders: Elias Hinderberger and Ethan Smalley
We live in one of the most fertile and bio-diverse regions of the country and are lucky to be surrounded by a bounty of wild edible plants, fresh produce, wild game, pastured raised meats, and wholesome dairy products. However, even with an abundance of natural food, many people in Western North Carolina still experience hunger, food insecurity, and poor nutrition. We will aim to address these issues and their root causes by partnering with community gardens, food-based non-profit organizations, and local farms to understand how we can improve access to local, healthy food in Buncombe county. Join us as we celebrate our local community and build a deeper connection to the the organizations in our very back yard!
Trip Leaders: Garrett Chaffee and Talia Winningham