Rebecca D. Thomas

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

My Internship Life, Part Three: Help on Wheels

Hello friends, and Happy Spring!! Welcome to my third and final “My Internship Life” blog post! Thank you for hanging in there with me, as I wrap up the semester…💖Concurrent with my internship, the FAMU Sustainability Institute hosts three Sustainability Fellows: Fure’ Muhammad, Zion Haynes, and Mikela Pryor. Also interning with me is Sarah Mahan, a fellow student with the Patel College! 

FAMU has many community partnerships, but through the work of the fellows, several new partnerships have formed. One example of a new partnership is with The Bicycle House. Fure’ is working on a composting initiative to reduce campus food waste. Part of the plan is to construct a “green” transport system to bring food scraps to the campus compost area. The Bicycle House is constructing a bike with a cargo trailer for food scraps to be collected from campus dining facilities and transported to the compost area. Student volunteers from the FAMU Green Coalition will use the cargo bike to collect leftover food each day.
Help on Wheels!

My tour of the Bicycle House!

The Bicycle House repairs and restores dilapidated bikes and sells them to people in need of transportation. People pay what they can afford. Bike owners can bring back the bikes at any time for repairs, or to trade them in for another bike.


Volunteer in the workshop! A highlight of my internship is to spend time with FAMU partners and community organizations. This has been fun, inspiring, and rewarding. Thank you, Bicycle House, for your great work! http://www.bicyclehouse.org/

The Bicycle House provides services for people who otherwise may not have a mode of transport. This is an all-volunteer organization that promotes cycling as the main form of transportation. They enter into agreements with their patrons and offer support to people in need.
I’d like to end this post with a discussion about Florida soil, its differences and similarities throughout the state, and how it can be amended for maximum growth potential.  Soil composition has been one of my interests throughout my internship. The subject matter may be a little dry, so hang in there with me…😅

To recap what I learned about soil construction at Rosebud Continuum, the staff at Rosebud builds their own soil with several layers. From bottom to top, they start with an organic soil mix of slurry and earthworms covered by newspaper and Bio-Char. Next, they cover the newspaper with cardboard, and on top of the cardboard is an organic soil mix with slurry and earthworms, covered by newspaper and Bio-Char. Next, they cover the newspaper with cardboard, and on top of the cardboard, about about 4” to 6” of mulch. The cool layer remains under the cardboard and the heated layer stays above the cardboard. This soil-building process is part of a system known as Regenerative Agriculture.

Now, I will move north from Land O’ Lakes to Tallahassee, where the soil begins to change. I had the pleasure of meeting Russell Watrous, the Rosebud resident Bio-Char expert! We spoke at length about Florida soil, and I appreciate him sharing this knowledge with me:

There are different types of soil throughout Florida, though all Florida soil is deficient in carbon, and carbon is an important element that helps to maintain soil nutrients. Sands from beach deposits and sand dunes, give us 90% silica, with 1% (or less) carbon. This is common throughout the eastern seaboard, which contains very sandy soil, consisting of beach and wind-blown sand, that is also low in carbon.

The closer we are to the roots of the Appalachian Mountains, the higher the clay content, and the better the water-holding capability of the soil.

Going farther south, one will find very little clay, as it leaches out of the soil, the farther south you go. Clay is older in southernmost Florida. And, the amount of rainfall and sun intensity helps us to define tropical growing areas.

With clay, the chemical characteristics determine the physical characteristics. The particle size of clay is very fine, and the smaller the particles, the greater the water holding capacity.

So, it was interesting to me to see, as I moved north from Land O’ Lakes to Tallahassee, how the change in climate and soil capacity affects how and what is grown from region to region.

Russell recommends 1491 by Thomas C. Mann, The Bio-Char Solution by Albert Bates and the TEDx talk Bio-Char – The Future of Sustainable Agriculture, by Lauren Hale.
Rosebud Mulch!

The final days of my internship are bittersweet, as I reflect on all I’ve learned this semester, and throughout my time with the Patel College.

It is not easy going back to school, after being in the workforce for many years, and while working full-time. There were many times that I wanted to quit. But I am so glad that I did not give up, because if I would have, I never would have met the amazing people at The Rosebud Continuum, and The FAMU Sustainability Institute. I’m so grateful for the new friendships that I’ve made.

As an online student, having face-to-face interactions and collaborations with students and faculty has been a rewarding and meaningful conclusion to my college experience.
  
Thank you to everyone at the Patel College for this opportunity!


4 comments

  1. A pleasure to read your blog. I'm a Pdh student now and my research is about communication in sustainable fashion. Thanks for all the interesting info you share
    New post up in my blog
    =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you,and I look forward to hearing more about your PhD program!

      Delete
  2. This is so cool! I think the Bicycle House is doing a great job! Also, I loved the closing paragraph. It's amazing what we can achieve once we decide to get out of our comfort zone! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Yes, and I certainly do have to push myself, because my character is to be lazy! It's been a great experience, I won't know what to do with myself, after I graduate in May!

      Delete