We so pleased that Lauren Willette has joined our team at Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts this summer. Lauren Willette is a doctoral student in the Heritage Studies program at Arkansas State University.  She began an internship with AFTA in May and is focusing her time with us on a project she’s developed titled “Coronavirus Pandemic Response: Gardening and Food Production Resourcefulness in Arkansas.”

Over the course of the summer, Lauren will be conducting interviews with Arkansans who are continuing and/or beginning a garden practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauren is interested in interviewing folks across the state and from all of Arkansas’ geographic regions.

Lauren shares,With this project, I hope to gather information about how the pandemic of 2020 has affected people’s choice to grow a garden. I would also like to learn from these people about the ways that gardening has allowed them to build community, online or out in the world.”

Due to both geographic distance and the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews can be conducted remotely. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just getting started in response to COVID-19, Lauren would love to hear from you. You can let her know about your interest in participating by filling out this interest form: https://forms.gle/pNpbtFeFGqH2AWFK9.

You can also reach Lauren by email directly at lauren.adams@smail.astate.edu.

This is a challenging time for our nation and state—we are so glad to have Lauren on our team and focusing on this important and timely project.