Seeds of social change

The UIC Heritage Garden hosted “Harvest Fest: The Seeds of Social Change” Oct. 10 as a reflection of its mission to connect urban gardening with environmental sustainability and social justice.

At the event, students had the opportunity to grow their own milkweed plants—the plant vital for the monarch butterfly’s habitat — create their tea blends, make seed bombs, and swap stories and recipes with other UIC students.

“The overall purpose of the event was similar to the overall purpose of a lot of what we do,” said Sarah Hernandez, a student leader and program coordinator for the Heritage Garden. “We want to provide information, we want to share an educational model, we want to share practices, and we want to share heritage-based stories.”

Second-year medical student Zamaan Sohel attended the Harvest Fest, and was moved by the effects of hearing the heritage-based stories.

“It was very enriching in an intellectual sense, but also in a human sense,” Sohel said. “All of these people coming together and connecting with the Earth, and coming together with all of these traditions that span generations.”

Students walked away with meaningful experiences, lessons and connections. The event’s stations and activities stimulated lively conversations centered on social justice, culture, and the importance of urban farming.

“It’s a really cool way for people to share their culture and share their college experience in a very dynamic, yet meaningful way,” Sohel said.

For more information on the UIC Heritage Garden, email

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