Urban farmer urges ASU students to find their own way
by Anna Oakes
Hundreds of Appalachian State University students, faculty
and staff members gathered for the annual convocation ceremony at Holmes
Convocation Center on Thursday, which commemorates the beginning of the fall
semester and the university’s 113th year.
There, they heard from the author of “Farm City: The Education
of an Urban Farmer,” which was ASU’s summer reading selection for freshmen and
which Watauga High School students and community members also read.
The bestseller chronicles
journalist and author Novella Carpenter’s experience “farming” in downtown Oakland,
Calif. Carpenter’s urban farm on a vacant city lot began with honeybees
and later grew to include chickens, turkeys, fruit trees, vegetables, hogs and
She has shared her harvests with friends and neighbors, and
her message of “back to the land” sustainability has inspired many.
you’re not going to find yourself in a pig pen, but you are going to find
yourself up all night writing two papers for your English class and you’re
going to wonder what you were thinking,” she said to students. “I’m here to
talk about boundaries and the way you might figure out how you are going to
live in this world.”
She told the story of being confronted by a restaurant chef
while she was diving for food to feed her pigs in his dumpster. He later
befriended her and taught her how to butcher hogs.
“You are going to meet amazing people who will help you and share their knowledge,” she said.
She urged students to seize their opportunities and to do
the things they want to do.
“What does it all mean? Why am I here?” she said. “To show
you that you can be a little wacky. Feel free to experience things in a deep
Carpenter was also scheduled to participate in a panel discussion in the Plemmons Student Union and open the Visiting Writers Series with a lecture and book signing Thursday.
On Friday at 10:30 a.m., Carpenter participates in a reading
and book signing at Watauga Public Library, sponsored by Watauga Reads!.
ASU handed out a number of awards at the ceremony.
Joseph Gonzalez, an interdisciplinary studies professor at
ASU, received the Harvey Durham Freshmen Advocate Award. The student curator
for the Looking Glass Gallery, Dianna Loughlin, received the Student Employee
of the Year Award.
The W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion went to Giovanni Modica, Sam Williams, David M. Lee, Martha Wilson, Pat Geiger and Scott Hunsinger.