April 22, 2020

Nutrition Major Celebrates Sustainability with Instagram Videos on Vegetable Gardening

Courney WCUIt’s Earth Week, with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, and Arbor Day celebrated Friday, April 24.

Although community clean-ups, group tree plantings, and other “green” social activities have been canceled or postponed during social distancing, anyone can celebrate sustainability by starting a vegetable garden. WCU’s Courtney Bodle shows how easy it is in “Courtney’s Victory Garden How-To Series” on her Instagram account: @Courtney_Bodle.

Bodle knows what to plant and what to eat. She has been a WCU South Campus Garden intern since 2018 and is part of the local environmentalist coalition the West Chester Green Team and the WCU Sustainability Council. She will graduate with her bachelor of science in nutrition in dietetics in December 2020 and will complete her WCU master of science in community nutrition one year later.

So far on her series, she has covered such topics as how to start seed indoors; repurposing containers for seedlings and patio gardens; starting a raised bed; using leaf compost; and more. She’ll share her crops with the WCU Resource Pantry and the Roots N Shoots Kids Gardening Program she created with the West Chester Green Team.

Recording the series is not without pitfalls such as delayed deliveries of planting materials and rain-flooded containers, so she plays it lightly and improvises.

“I see myself as a nutritionist, a community organizer, and a gardener. I began teaching families in trailer park communities how to grow their own organic food in raised garden beds with the Chester County Food Bank in 2016,” Bodle explains. She also organized West Chester Borough’s first-ever Organic Food Gardens Tour with the West Chester Green Team.

gardening student wcuIn a presentation she made last fall for an Office of Sustainability Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar, Bodle documented her experiences and focused on the borough’s organic food gardens tour. Among the many points she made: Sustainability is about maintaining what already works (respecting extant ecosystems) and nature is always right.

 “I’m currently working on a project where I teach the community how to flip a yard into a garden at 300 Price Street via video footage as part of a community partnership with WCU’s Communications and Media Department and experiential workshops as part of a locally recognized Gardening Month of June.” Should social distancing restrictions be lifted in time, she’ll host the workshops on Saturday, June 20.

“I believe there is nothing that gardening can’t fix or heal. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to spread that message and get people outside.”


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