Story+ Project

What This Land Has Seen: The Past and Future of the Duke Campus Farm

(2021)

More than ten years ago, Duke undergraduate students founded the Duke Campus Farm (DCF) in a rural area seven miles from main campus, in the Duke Forest. Their primary aim was to provide themselves and others with direct experience of the joys and hard work of growing real food. Over the last decade, the farm has evolved from a student-led interest group into a more fully-fledged university program with a broader mission: to catalyze positive change in the food system. As we imagine a (mostly likely virtual) celebration of the ten-year anniversary of our program, we want to mark the evolution of DCF and its impact on students, and offer appreciation to all those in the Duke and Durham communities whose brains and brawn built our current operation. In telling the story of the farm, we also want to honor the endurance of the land itself and the suffering of enslavement and displacement it and its communities have witnessed - like much of the South, the land that is now DCF also has a darker history of plantation enslavement, indigenous extermination, and extractive agriculture.

While the form of the final product will be determined by the group, we hope that what comes out of this summer will offer one way to address a question that we’re grappling with as people living in the United States - can we tell these stories as part of a cohesive whole and if so, how? How can we celebrate what has been achieved and acknowledge what has been sacrificed for this achievement, in order to work collectively toward repair? Drawing on the presences and absences in the farm’s existing archive, we hope to tell the story of the past and future of the Duke Campus Farm, both as a vibrant space of learning and ecological repair, and as a site of mourning, enslavement, extraction and displacement.

Skills:

List of essential skills: creative and critical thinking, familiarity with racial equity frameworks, on-line research skills, willingness to collaborate and to work independently, cross-cultural sensitivity/competency.

Desired skills: familiarity with ArcGIS StoryMaps or other multimedia platforms, skills in oral histories, (visual) journalism, photography, videography, graphic design, mapmaking, podcast-making, audio/video editing, demonstrated interest and/or investment in food studies, food justice and/or sustainable agriculture. 

Project Sponsor(s): 

Saskia Cornes, Program Director, Duke Campus Farm//Assistant Professor of the Practice, Franklin Humanities Institute. 

Duke Campus Farm Mural

Topic(s)

  • Environment
  • Documentary
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Civil Rights
  • Mapping
  • History