Wholly (and holy) organic

first_imgAt Harvard Divinity School (HDS), we talk a lot about gardens — the biblical fruits of Eden, the blissful states of Sukhavati, the verdant blessings of Al-Janna — and now we too have a pluralist plot of paradise: the HDS Community Garden.This space was converted from lawn to lushness three years ago, through a combined effort of HDS staff (the HDS Green Team) and students (members of the student group EcoDiv). Thanks to them, we now have a holy, wholly organic garden, with garlic already on the rise.It was here, halfway through the first season and my first semester, that I received my own baptism by soil, anointed by the dirt under my nails as I dug into the ground, pulling up pound after pound of the most beautiful golden potatoes I’d ever seen. It was love. Hours later, we roasted those potatoes for the community and I dug in once more: CHOMP!With that bite, the covenant was formed. The next season, spring to fall 2010, I took on some real responsibilities as one of two student garden managers. My green-thumbed partner was and is Grace Egbert (M.T.S. ’12). Along with Leslie MacPherson Artinian in the Office of Ministry Studies, we expanded the project, helping the garden to grow to nearly 1,000 square feet of sacred space (though isn’t all space such?). With a Student Sustainability Grant courtesy of the Office for Sustainability, we were able to add some serious infrastructure: tomato towers, cucumber trellises, raised beds, even a drip irrigation system to reduce water waste and create a sustainable, localized food system.I’ve learned a lot through my study of environmental ethics here at Harvard, but the garden has really been where the rubber meets the road, or more appropriately, the shovel meets the soil. Through a lived relationship with this community of plants, animals, and people, I’ve come to be me. I’ve learned to live in a world that is borderlands, transgressing the boundaries of human-nature dualism, dwelling in a community of life abundant. Is a comparison to the concept of Pure Land really out of the question here?My most important learning has been this: Nature is so much more than a pristine forest atop the mountain. In the garden that is the world, nature is something familiar — us yet not quite — something near enough to love yet other enough to welcome us back into a forgotten covenant. Try to rope it in, to pound it into rows, and the plants will remind you of what’s what. A bean plant reaches out to the cucumbers, joining tendrils and becoming friends. A group of greens stubbornly reseed themselves throughout the garden. Even the squirrels can set us straight, raiding the trash to plant a kernel of corn, our single ear that year. Too many tomatoes? No problem. Squirrels like them too.Like them, eating is our most basic connection to nature, wholly obfuscated by the modern industrialized food system. I believe growing gardens is one of the most radical acts in which we can engage. By re-entering a direct relationship with other forms of life, we can see rightly once more. We can say, with a single bite of a fresh tomato, still holding that earthy smell that comes after a summer’s rain, that this relationship matters — that pesticides, chemical additives, and plastic packaging can’t take this away, that nothing can.At HDS, we’ve been fortunate that the community has been open to building these relationships. Once people tasted the bounties of this space, the joy of communal work, the peace of respite, a rainbow of colors — heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, greens, carrots, squash blossoms — our garden has grown and grown. This bounty was shared at more than 20 School-wide events last year, including a harvest festival turned dance of gratitude around the garden.In the garden, we co-create with the sun and the rain and the earth, participating in the divine. I urge everyone to have their own baptism by soil, to form a covenant with the land, the people, animals, and plants already around them, to dig in, and to relate.I’m a gardener for life now, and I have Harvard to thank for that. CHOMP! If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student and have an essay to share about life at Harvard, please email your ideas to Jim Concannon, the Gazette’s news editor, at Jim_Concannon@harvard.edu.last_img read more

President of Magnetrol International discusses values-driven company culture

first_imgJohn Heiser, president and chief operating officer of Magnetrol International, Inc., discussed his leadership journey and creating a values-driven organizational culture during his lecture Wednesday night in the Mendoza College of Business’ Jordan Auditorium. The talk was the second lecture of the 2017 Berges Lecture Series in Business Ethics.Heiser began his career as a maritime litigator after graduating from Tulane University’s law school. His decided that law was not the right career choice during one case where he listened to a four-hour debate on the definition of “perishable” when he was waiting to obtain a motion for his client’s case.“At that point, I had this intervention that said I don’t want to spend the rest of my life doing this,” he said.Upon the realization, Heiser decided to move to the chemical production company DuPont. His career move led him to his first lesson in leadership, which was being open-minded about taking new paths.“You’ve got to be open to exploring new opportunities,” he said. “You’ve got to be open to saying, ‘You know what, this isn’t want I expected. Maybe I should try this; maybe I should try that.’”Here, Heiser realized his second lesson of leadership, which was the power of stakeholder engagement.At DuPont, Heiser was responsible for launching a product to help people affected by HIV and AIDS. Heiser described how the activist community at the time spoke against pharmaceutical companies producing the HIV and AIDS drug products due to pricing and other concerns, so he wanted to take steps to embrace this community, including by hiring several activists.“We were not only going to understand the patient community that we were dealing with, but we were going to work with the activist community and engage them in how we were going to price this product and go to market,” he said. “… This is when I first realized and learned the concept of shared value where we could do things that would maximize profit for the organization. … But we also recognized that we could actually make a different for society.”Other lessons Heiser learned during his leadership journey included the powers of perseverance, resilience and internal and external feedback.“As a leader, I would tell you there’s nothing more important than your ability to receive feedback from others and process it, and more importantly, for me, to do self-reflection,” he said.Heiser also talked about his time at Magnetrol, which is a company that manufactures radar and radar equipment to measure levels of fluid. Though the company had grown considerably from its roots in a garage, Heiser said it had lost its way by 2015 when he took over as president. He attributed this deterioration to the fact that the company rewarded employees based on years of service and attendance as opposed to merit.Heiser said he sought to fix the problem with a more values-driven approach.“We had to change the culture, and we had to start at the senior level,” he said.Today, Heiser said Magnetrol has several core values including the idea of “performance [and] no excuses,” which Heiser said means the company needs to be action-oriented, especially with the commitments it made to its stakeholders.Heiser said another core value is “everybody deserves special treatment.”“What that means is we don’t leave the human condition at the door,” he said.The final Magnetrol value, according to Heiser, is that business is a social institution, which means Magnetrol has an obligation to multiple stakeholders and that it will deliver on those obligations.Magnetrol’s culture change has not been without its struggles, Heiser explained. Under Heiser, Magnetrol implemented a “Giving Voice to Values” program, which had the lowest participation rate company-wide with the U.S. management team.“How am I going to get a culture change in the U.S. if I’ve got a management team that [has the lowest participation numbers]?” he said. “… That’s actually been one of our biggest problems is getting managers out of this command and control situation.”Tags: Berges Lecture Series, Inc., Magnetrol International, mendoza college of businesslast_img read more

Wasp warning

first_imgBy April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaNow is the time to knock down wasp nests around your home before babies hatch and become a problem later this summer, says a University of Georgia entomologist. “This time of year, the mother wasps are just starting their colonies with a single wasp forming the paper nest and beginning to lay her eggs,” said Nancy Hinkle, an entomologist with UGA Cooperative Extension. “If we wait until the end of May, the nests will have a dozen wasps and many more cells, making them more dangerous to deal with.”Knock down the nest with a broom while the mother wasp is out foraging, she said. When she returns, she won’t find the nest. “Sometimes she will start over at the same site, but generally she will move elsewhere, which is what we want,” she said. While wasp stings are painful, the insects are actually beneficial and prey on pest insects. To avoid encounters:• Keep wasps outside by checking for unsealed vents, torn screens or cracks around window and door frames. Daily sightings inside could mean an inside nest. • Remove outdoor food sources like pet food, food scraps, open garbage containers or uncovered compost piles. Wasps remember food locations and will continue to search an area for a while after the food is gone. • Don’t swat or squash wasps. A squashed wasp attracts and incites others, so it is best to walk away. • Limit perfumes in late summer. Wasps are attracted to the sweet smell. To keep your birdhouse from becoming a wasp house, line the ceiling with aluminum foil using a staple gun. Another option is to rub the area under the roof with a bar soap like Ivory. One application should last through wasp season. (April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Chahal’s four-wicket haul grounds Sri Lanka

first_img(REUTERS) – India’s Yuzvendra Chahal picked up four wickets in a brilliant display of leg-spin bowling to guide the hosts to a facile 93-run win against Sri Lanka in the opening Twenty20 international at Cuttack yesterday.Opener Lokesh Rahul, who was not part of the side that beat Sri Lanka 2-1 in the one-day international series, hit 61 off 48 balls to build the platform for India’s innings of 180-3 in 20 overs after Sri Lanka had won the toss and opted to field.The tourists, who also lost the three-Test series 1-0, were all out for 87, matching their second lowest total in the format and handing India their biggest victory margin by runs in T20s.Coming in to bowl inside the batting powerplay, Chahal showed exemplary control with a slippery ball, owing to the dew on the ground, and finished with 4-23 in his four overs.Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav snubbed out the remaining chances of a Sri Lanka challenge with figures of 2-18. Seamer Hardik Pandya wrapped up the tail with 3-29 as Sri Lanka were bundled out in 16 overs.India, resting their top players including newly-wed regular skipper Virat Kohli, lost stand-in captain Rohit Sharma (17) early but Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who made 24, added 63 for the second wicket to give the home side a solid base.Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Manish Pandey provided the late flourish with a fourth-wicket stand of 68 as the duo added 61 in the last four overs of India’s innings.Dhoni remained unbeaten on 39 from 22 balls while Pandey made 32 off 18 deliveries.Sri Lanka must now win the second match at Indore tomorrow to keep alive their hopes of claiming at least one series across the formats on their tour.last_img read more

Wenger suggests Arsenal will NOT sign a striker to replace Giroud

first_imgArsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal are no closer to signing a striker, and has suggested he may not bring one in before the transfer window closes.The Gunners have been linked with several forwards in the past week, including Monaco’s Radamel Falcao, after Olivier Giroud was ruled out till December with an ankle injury.However, Wenger insists there is nothing to report on that front, as he talked up the current attacking options in his squad.“No. If we sign someone I will tell you,” said the Frenchman, when asked if any strikers are incoming. “All [transfer negotiations] need to be as secret as possible.“If I give you the number of strikers we have at the moment it is unbelievable. We have Sanogo, Sanchez, Podolski, Campbell and others.” 1 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last_img read more