Class reads EATING, connects to farmers in community garden

NorthamptonCommunityGarden

A few years ago Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA, invited me to campus to speak about my work. Since then, Dr. Pamela Bradley has been using my books in her English class. I Skype in with her class once per semester. (If you use any of my work, I’d be happy to Skype with your class for free, although Pam sent me a box of locally produced goodies!)

This semester Pam had the students read EATING while also working at the campus community garden.

She was kind enough to share more about the experience:

I teach Academic Literacy, a developmental reading and English course at Northampton Community College.  This semester my students have had the experience of gardening while reading Where Am…

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Her name was Laboni, she died making our clothes.

Screenshot 2016-04-24 11.10.21

Three years ago the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 people and injuring more than 2,500 more.

Sometimes when I deliver the information above in a lecture I say,”killed 1,134 workers.” As if a worker is a cog without a family, friends, and a complex life just like ours. I cringe at the word workers passing my lips. It’s vital that we all remember that people make our things.

Sons. Daughters. Fathers. Mothers. Aunts. Uncles. Best friends. These are the lives that were snuffed out by the unregulated manic growth of the Bangladeshi garment industry trying to feed consumers ever-hungry for cheaper prices and throwaway fashions.

Today marks three years since the disaster, and I hope you’ll join me in doing…

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The Limo at the Daddy-Daughter Dance

Daddy daughter dance 2016

“Man, who comes here in a limo?” I said, to my fellow dad, Zach, as we left the daddy-daughter dance with our daughters.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but there seemed to be some pressure at the daddy-daughter dance to “out-dad” one another. This dad wore a suit. That dad wore a bow tie. This dad has some dance moves. That dad is on the phone.

But a limo?

As I turned to watch it drive by, I saw it slow in front of a dad and daughter well within earshot of my comment. As soon as I saw them, I knew that there was probably some super special reason that this dad came with his daughter in a super special limo. I…

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Act: Support Blueberry farmers in Peru

Santos Celestina Carranza Labor leader peru

(Stand with Santos Celestina Carranza, General Secretary of SITETSA, a union supporting blueberry farmers in Peru)

If you trust my opinion on these matters click here and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. 

I’m thankful for the global food economy. One of the reasons is because I like to eat blueberries year round. But the luxury of being able to eat out-of-season produce comes with a cost.  A cost that blueberry farmers in Peru are currently paying.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released a report on how farm workers are being mistreated–hired on short term contracts, unions being busted by employers–all which are in violation of the trade agreement between the United…

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Jealous of 2008-Kelsey

I’m spending the day at Ohio Northern University visiting classes, talking with faculty and students, eating, some more eating, and giving a presentation tonight.

This is the flyer they made for my event tonight.

KT oldschool

Annie took this picture of me in our backyard in 2008, and it gets used quite often to this day on posters such as this, which makes me a little paranoid: Do I even look like that anymore? Do I look more authorial when I’m not wearing my glasses, which I absolutely have to wear today?

I’ve had professional head shots twice since, and folks can choose from, I don’t know, like 10 different ones, yet they continually choose 2008-Kelsey making 2016 Kelsey a little jealous.

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I checked in at my…

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The Power of Voluntelling

Voluntold

“That’s when Kelsey voluntold me that I was going to be a writer in the Facing Project,” Dr. Adam Kuban told those attending a session at the Indiana Campus Compact conference.

I love the term “voluntold.” But I would, wouldn’t I? I’m a fan of portmanteaus (mashing together two words). That’s where the term touron and glocal come from. I’ve used the hell out of each of those, so much that they don’t need italicized or put in quotes any longer.

A lot of arms have been twisted (that’s what I used to call the hard sell to volunteer I’d put on people) through the years to recruit writers, volunteers, and board members for The Facing Project. In fact, if I hadn’t voluntold my…

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If you read one book on autism, read this one

Griff Dunking

(Autism hasn’t impacted Griffin’s hang time!)

When our son Griffin was diagnosed with autism three years ago, our world got pretty small. We felt alone, as if we were the only family to have a child on the spectrum. We read stuff. Stuff on the Internet! Scary stuff and inspiring stuff, but mostly scary stuff.

Slowly we started to plan a path forward to get Griffin the best help we could. We started to connect with other people who had been where we were. I helped run, and Annie participated in, the Facing Autism Project in Muncie (read Annie’s story, read all the stories and download the bookRead More >

 
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Cancer can take, but it also can give

(Video from Facing Cancer in East Central Indiana)

Cancer doesn’t know race, religion, gender, or political ideology. Cancer has touched all of our lives. Maybe not our own bodies, but the bodies of someone we love.

That’s why the most recent Facing Project led by Dr. Adam Kuban’s Ball State class of Ingelhardt Scholars was so important. Students ran the project from start to finish along with their community partner Little Red Door.

From what I’ve seen and read, cancer can divide us, make us feel alone as we deal with our illness or mortality or that of a loved one. But cancer can also connect us. I’ve seen my mother-in-law become a one-woman cancer support group for an entire community after she survived breast…

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All we really own are moments

IMG_2874

I lay down next to my son and stare up at the stars. They aren’t mine. A hand I’ll never shake placed the glowing sticky stars to bring joy to her daughter in the dark.

“Wish it. Dream it. Do it.” Reads the acrylic letters the same hand affixed to the wall.

The woman who lived in this house before died in her 40s. Her name was Pat. People seemed to have liked her. When I called the company that services our furnace, they remembered her. I delivered the news to a stranger about a stranger’s death. Now about my furnace…

I often wonder how the hole got in the door of the Jack and Jill bathroom. It’s at the right height and size to…

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Kids & sports & bassoon lessons

IMG_3931There was a volleyball camp this winter and my wife and I wanted our 7-year-old daughter Harper to do it. It was every Saturday for 6 weeks, or something like that.

“I don’t want to give up my Saturdays,” Harper responded.

It was a shockingly mature and reasonable thing to say. Annie loved playing volleyball and we really wanted her to do it. But we really didn’t have an argument beyond that.

“Ok.”

So we didn’t sign her up.

Right now, I feel like she’s in discovery mode and it’s our job to expose her to as many things as possible. But what if she is the most naturally-gifted bassoon player ever and we haven’t exposed her to a bassoon because I’m really not even sure what a bassoon is?!

Yet…

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