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Eckerd College Community Farm representatives take part in St. Petersburg Earth Day proclamation

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published April 25, 2024
Categories: About Eckerd, Academics, Alumni, Community Engagement, Students, Sustainability

Eckerd College Community Farm Faculty Director David Himmelfarb, Ph.D., speaks on behalf of the College at the reading of the City of St. Petersburg Earth Day proclamation on April 11. Photos by Penh Alicandro ’22

Environmental Studies Instructor, Internship Coordinator and Eckerd College Community Farm Faculty Director David Himmelfarb, Ph.D., tried to point out the silver lining as he delivered an impromptu speech to St. Petersburg’s mayor and city council on April 11.

“I tried to say that in a time of catastrophe and failure, to act on a global level, our students at the farm and the students at the St. Pete Youth Farm, and their relationship to the Earth that they are forming through gardening and learning about sustainable agriculture, that’s the ray of hope,” he recalls.

The speech was offered after City Councilwoman Brandi Gabbard read the City’s annual Earth Day proclamation at the end of the regular council meeting.

Officials invited Himmelfarb, Eckerd Farm Manager Maggie Jensen ’11, and two students Isabella Trais and Anna DeMartini to stand with Gabbard while the proclamation was read into the City record. The invitation is a continuation of a relationship that began with the City requesting the Eckerd College Community Farm’s assistance with composting and education at the annual Collard Greens Festival.

“Partnerships are at the core of everything we do at the farm,” Himmelfarb explains. “Having a relationship with the City opens up new avenues for us and expands our reach as well as providing additional learning opportunities for our students.”

Environmental Studies Instructor David Himmelfarb

Himmelfarb, Maggie Jensen ’11,  Anna DeMartini  ’24 and Isabella Trais ’26 (left to right) represented the College at the invitation of City Councilwoman Brandi Gabbard.

The trip to City Hall was a powerful firsthand experience for Isabella and Anna, who both were students in Himmelfarb’s Food Movements class and volunteers at the Collard Greens Festival. They met Mayor Ken Welch, Councilwoman Gabbard and Eckerd’s District 5 City Councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders.

Himmelfarb stressed that though proclamations in honor of Earth Day are ceremonial, they speak of a community’s commitment to a sustainable future.

“It’s a public declaration of environmental values,” he explains.”Proclamations are used to shed light on the importance of environmental issues and identify spots of hope.”