Your Place in the World: What it Means to be Local

There is no single definition of "local" in common use today; it means many things to many people.  We will read several different descriptions of "living local" from memoirs and explorations of growing and eating food in The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  We’ll look at David Suzuki and Wayne Grady’s Tree: A Life Story and examine how the “biography” of a tree connects to students’ own experiences and what it means to connect to their environment.  There have also been many different types of literature that examine what it means to draw from your local environment - from food, to farms, to hiking and traveling, understanding culture and developing a sense of place.  Specifically we’ll draw upon a short story by Ernest Hemingway about the transformative power of knowing nature, essays by naturalist Wendell Berry about local culture, and several examples of poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Phillip Levine, and Percy Shelley looking at what local might mean in contrast to global.  Each of these readings, along with others, will explore what it means to be local.