The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grintentional Community spreads ecolove


Steve Yang, Features Editor

Before the relatively recent rise of industrialized farming and chemical fertilizers, the Iowan soil was flush with healthy populations of earthworms. Nowadays, earthworm populations are nowhere near their historical levels, which explains a recent trend on campus: those “Help, I’m a Worm” scrawlings are a cry for help, a plea to return to the more land-friendly farming methods of yesteryear.  And now you can lend a hand with Grintentional Community, a newly formed student group dedicated to restoring the land and eventually starting an Earth friendly permaculture ecovillage around Grinnell.

Grintentional Community Graphic

Founded primarily by Bradyn Smith, a Grinnell local and Maharishi University of Management alumni, and Moses Gaither-Ganim ’16, Grintentional Community is looking to invest in the town-gown relationship through collective living and permaculture. Drawing inspiration from other sustainable living collectives such as the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and Possibility Alliance, the first step on its agenda is a Giving Garden established by the end of the year. The garden is meant to teach earth care, ecofeminism, deep ecology and self organization, and is intended as a collaborative effort between students and locals.    

“There’s something about Fairfield, [Iowa], that makes people want to stay. In Grinnell, people tend more to diffuse, which kind of inspired me with my ecological education to create a more permanent culture here at Grinnell to retain students and graduates of the College,” Smith said. 

The produce grown from the garden will go to Mid-Iowa Community Action, a non-profit organization that serves those in Central Iowa living in poverty. The group is also focused on more sustainable technology, especially with alternative sources of energy.

“We recently took a look at the ecovillage of Maharishi University …  and there’s certainly a lot of technologies in terms of water recycling, heating, using solar energy, things like that are things we’d like to replicate,” Gaither-Ganim said. “Using the space that we have, we hope to eventually have … a viable solution to meeting the community’s agricultural needs without degrading the earth.”

Taylor Burton ’18 added that she hopes Grintentional Community can generate connections between students and locals, and beyond that, “a sense of community, values of sharing and a gift economy,” that she saw on a visit to the Possibility Alliance.   

“It’s about creating a community that people want to be a part of,” Burton said. “It’s breaking the Grinnell bubble, which won’t just help the purposes of Grintentional but will help other advocacy groups on campus.”

Grintentional Community is also dedicated to fostering an increased sense of inclusivity and a common ground between the College and people outside of the College, with emphasis on social, economic and environmental justice.

“We’d like to set up a community house, which is like Eco House with a full-time live-in project manager,” Smith said. “It’d be like Eco House that’s a little more open to the community, rather than just being student housing. A ‘middle campus,’ if you will.”

On Sunday, April 24, members of the group will meet outside JRC at 9 a.m. to travel to a farm between Grinnell and Des Moines called Templewood Farm to plant a willow tree labyrinth. And there is a trip to Dancing Rabbit planned for next weekend. There will also be monthly potlucks, which interested students can find more information about on the group’s Facebook page.

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