When you truly want to understand an issue, you get in touch with an expert. And that’s exactly what the organizers of SustainFest 2019 have done.
To help students develop greater awareness and understanding about the College of Charleston’s Sustain/Solves theme for the 2019-20 academic year – food security – they’ve enlisted the help of two local experts who are well known around the South Carolina Lowcountry: Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, and Germaine Jenkins, the owner and head farmer at Fresh Future Farm.
Quet and Jenkins are the headliners for SustainFest 2019, taking place on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at 6 p.m. in Cistern Yard. The event is free and open to the public. In case of rain, it will be held in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, room 100.
An annual event for students organized by the College’s Sustainability Literacy Institute, SustainFest is always a celebration – with food, music and more – and it’s an opportunity to learn about the various sustainability initiatives that are happening on campus and around the Charleston area. In addition to Queen Quet and Germaine Jenkins’ remarks, the crowd will also be entertained by DJ Collective Disparity (alumnus Jarod Aaronson ‘15) and African drumming from the WO’SE dance troupe. There will also be food trucks on George Street. (with vegan options) payable by cash or credit card.
SustainFest also offers the opportunity to learn about College offices and student clubs and organizations that are engaged in issues of sustainability. Representatives will be on hand from the Cougar Food Pantry, SafeZone, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Stone Soup Collective, Still Serving SC, Prism, the Vegan Club, among other groups.
Queen Quet is an author, computer scientist, lecturer, historian, environmental justice advocate and the leader and spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. (If you’re not familiar with the Gullah/Geechee Nation, visit gullahgeecheenation.com.) In that role, she has testified before U.S. congressional committees and the United Nations and lectured widely across the country. Quet works to raise awareness about the Gullah/Geechee culture, which comprises African descendants from the sea islands of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Germaine Jenkins founded her urban farm initiative – Fresh Future Farm – in 2014 on a vacant lot in North Charleston, South Carolina. Her initial goal was to bring healthy, fresh food to her community, which has been labeled a food desert, and she wanted to explore ways of bringing green jobs to blighted communities. Since then, she has re-envisioned her initiative’s purpose.
“We’re sowing transferable, marketable and entrepreneurial skills into community residents,” she says. “That’s our main purpose now.”