Rebecca D. Thomas

A Values-Driven, Sustainable Lifestyle Blog, seeking innovative and forward-thinking ideas in business, travel, food, fashion, and beyond!

My Internship Life Part Two: The Florida A& M University Sustainability Institute

Hello, and welcome to my second internship blog installment! In this post, I will take you on a tour of the beautiful Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University Sustainability Education and Engagement Destination (FAMU SEED), an arm of the FAMU Sustainability Institute (FAMU SI). I feel very honored to be interning with the FAMU SI, and I know that nothing I write here will fully reflect its impact. But I hope that this post will give you a small glimpse into this peaceful, powerful, and engaging space.
The FAMU SEED was established in 2018. It is a unique and thoughtfully-planned, mixed-use experiential learning hub, right in the heart of FAMU’s campus. It sits on what used to be a small animal laboratory farm, which is now the Florida A&M Research and Extension Center just north of Tallahassee Florida, in Quincy.
Situated on a hill, and surrounded by student activity, the space is alive with growth, and serves as an outdoor learning lab, where science, agriculture, engineering, and art come alive, and are put into practice. The SEED represents growth, movement, and sustenance.
Spend time in places that make you want to put down your phone. Welcome to the FAMU SEED!

There is a long list of treats that are thriving at the SEED. Here you will find: Radishes, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Missoula Greens, Kale, and Mizuna.

Herbs at the SEED include: Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Sage, and Basel.
Cilantro, which attracts beneficial pests, is also growing. Kumquat, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Red Navel Orange and Tangerine Trees offer shade, and a sense of the tropics, and the beautiful Olive Tree provides visual interest, and gives the area a Mediterranean feel. Lemongrass is plentiful, and bamboo markers dot the SEED landscape. Snapdragons (not edible) and Comfrey, a topical anesthetic, serves medicinal and culinary purposes. The Marigolds have a symbiotic relationship with the other plants.
Also growing is Creeping Charley, which is high in vitamin C, the Pineapple and Strawberries are looking lovely, and the Chocolate Mint is delicious!
Guardian of the Garden

The space utilizes the Square Foot Gardening method to grow an abundance of food. Composting is an important part of the SEED, as compost is added to the garden soil. On Monday, February 11, I, along with other students, met with Trevor Hylton, Cooperative Extension Agent with the FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences. Mr. Hylton conducted a workshop on how to maintain a thriving compost system.

Creating perfect compost is a delicate balancing act, often requiring trial and error before success. Mr. Hylton discussed the importance of balancing the compost carbon to nitrogen ratio, and the difference between “greens” and “browns” – Greens, such as vegetable scraps and coffee grounds, provide nitrogen, and will allow the compost pile to heat. Browns, such as leaves and pine needles, provide carbon, and help to control odor. Mr. Hylton recommends a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 30 to 1, or approximately 2-parts nitrogen to 1-part carbon. If you have other ratios or methods that work for you, please let us know in the comments below. ✍😍
Turning compost is very important. Mixing and turning the compost pile while keeping it moist promotes heating, controls foul odors, and helps to deter pests. The FAMU SEED uses wooden pallet bins to hold their compost.
I asked Mr. Hylton if the variations in soil composition throughout Florida have anything to do with why tropical fruit grows easier in south Florida, compared to north Florida. He said that growing fruit to maturity has only to do with temperature. Banana trees will grow in north Florida, until they inevitably freeze. Meyer Lemons, Figs, Kumquats and Loquats are plentiful here, so that will have to do 😉
The SEED logo is a handprint, and it is a symbol of commitment through a pledge to act.

My inspiration behind this photo collection is to honor the past and present hands involved in creating this space, and the hands that have not yet been here, but will define its future.

Many thanks to my friend Candace, a FAMU senior, who made this photolog possible.

The SEED opens doors for learning and growing. Please schedule a visit. You'll be so glad you did! :)

Thank you so much for reading! If you have composting and gardening ideas, or other thoughts about this post, please comment below! I would love to hear from you! Until next time…😊


  1. Great post, Rebecca! Your posts show how passionate you are about the topic of sustainability and its related avenues. It's very admirable! Btw, interesting photo collection:D I liked the idea!

    1. Thank you so much, Jigeesha!! :) The photos have a special place in my heart! :)

  2. What a lovely garden and it's great it's so sustainable! :) We have a few little community gardens like this around, they are a wonderful idea :)

    Hope that your week is going well so far and you have a nice weekend planned :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Australia is leading the way in permaculture, and other effective and alternative methods, I would love to visit, one day!

  3. look exciting....thank you for sharing

  4. I enjoyed your post. It reminded me of my old grad school internship days. I wish you a bright, happy, and fulfilling future as you go through your studies.

    1. Thank you so much, I appreciate the encouragement, and I'm glad you liked the post!! It's been a very rewarding and challenging time, with great memories!

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