By Jonathon Elwood Smith
Sustainability Studies Intern
During my internship in the IU South Bend Campus Unity Garden this summer, I have discovered that localized stores seem to be friendlier when it comes to conversation and helping out with community projects.
For example, the collection of cardboard material to get for the garden at first seemed would be easy to complete. As it turns out, getting enough cardboard to complete the project took me to many different stores with a sum of very little cardboard. There were many times where I went to go ask for cardboard at the chain stores and got the reply, “someone else already came and got it all earlier this morning”. Mostly it was a quick reply of “no cardboard – no, sorry.” Going to chain stores wasn’t much help, neither were large commercial stores or restaurants.
Thankfully, Martins Super Market was there for the rescue. They helped out with the cardboard materials I needed to complete my project and seemed very friendly about the idea of the community garden project.
The awareness that I have come to see in action from the readings can be seen by the workings of a large corporation which creates isolation from the workers and costumers from local community. Not to mention is more environmentally unfriendly in terms of resource use. The people in the chain stores were not very welcoming and when asked for cardboard casually came back with a small box or two. On the other hand, Martins greeted me with a smile and helped out by giving between 20 to thirty boxes at a single time. The people working at Martins heard of the community gardens projects while the larger chain store employees seemed to have no idea of what I was talking about.
In the end I can see how the awareness is growing and moving forward but there is much more work to be done in the community to reach everyone.