Environmental Humanities Program Hosts Writing Workshop and Author Talk Series


Edible Campus Gardens at the University of Utah. (Chronicle archives)

By Brooke Williams, News Writer


The University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Program is hosting a new six-part writing workshop series this spring, focusing on the intersection of gardening, ecology and social justice.

The idea for the event started with a group of graduate students who wanted to have a community garden writing circle. One of those students was Maya Kobe-Rundio, a first-year graduate student in the Environmental Humanities program at the U and representative of the Torrey House Press.

Several brainstorming sessions in January into a collaboration with Torrey House Press and Mobile Moon Coop, in consultation with Wasatch Community Gardens.

“As we lean into the growing season, this series will provide a reflective, generative and healing space as we consider questions of food, sustainability, justice, storytelling and the various ways we can contribute to our community,” Kobe-Rundio said. 

Occurring every other Thursday beginning in April, the series features a lineup of speakers, including authors, poets, founders and other local influencers. The remaining sessions will be held on April 29, May 13, May 27 and June 10.

“Each workshop is going to be so distinct from the others, and each amazing speaker will open up a unique space for learning and writing,” Kobe-Rundio said.

Some upcoming speakers include poet and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Salt Lake City Ashley Finley, Diné writer and public health advocate Alastair Bitsóí, founder of River Writing Nan Seymour and Mobile Moon Coop founder Rikki Nadkarni-Longino.

Nadkarni-Longino also helped organize the series. They work as the Garden Coordinator and Seed Librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library. 

With factors like COVID-19, climate change and the recent state of emergency declared due to drought in Utah, Nadkarni-Longino felt that building gardening skills and community as the gardening season approaches this year is especially important. They believe the writing workshop will provide a means for people to grieve, process and celebrate small victories together.

“Writing is such a powerful way to reclaim agency and really articulate what it is you intend to bring to the world. It grounds you in your own unique truth while simultaneously creating space to question your strongest-held beliefs,” Nadkarni-Longino said. 

The workshop is free and available to anyone who registers. Meetings will be held via Zoom every other Thursday from 6–7:30 p.m.

“At the end of the series, participants will have a chance to share their writing and stories with Torrey House Press to be published in a chapbook,” Kobe-Rundio said.

More information can be found here.


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