Honors Student Guides Bonner Leaders through an Immersion in Gullah Geechee Culture

On Saturday, College of Charleston students gathered at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Urban Farm downtown to learn about the connection between agriculture and the Gullah Geechee Community.

“I really wanted to emphasize a culture that has been impacting us for so long, not only on a historical level but a cultural and social one as well,” said Alani Boyd, a sophomore and Bonner Leader at the College of Charleston.

International Studies and Political Science double-major Alani Boyd ’25

Even though the Gullah Geechee Community is a main part of the history of the Lowcountry, it is still unknown to some.

“I asked the Bonners during our education portion, ‘you know how many of you guys like what do you really know about Gullah?’ And not a lot of people answered,” Boyd said.

Boyd planned this service event for her and other Bonner leaders- a leadership program that highlights impactful service for the community. Saturday’s event featured the importance of agriculture.

Students spent the day harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables and celebrated with a meal.

“One of the things that stuck out the most to me was how closely intertwined the Gullah Geechee culture is to African American culture and to American culture, and at the end of the day it is American culture, it’s a part of who we are, and I didn’t realize how readily accessible fruits and vegetables were,” said Katylin Brown, a senior and Bonner Leader at the College of Charleston.

This experience also opened the door to other conversations.

“We’ve been in the South so long but not a lot of people have that education about the culture, and with so many social issues that are impacting it like gentrification, climate change, things like that, I really wanted to hone in on the cultural preservation of Gullah because it’s so important,” Boyd said.

“That’s also a great part of the Gullah culture because, you know, you’re so resourceful and you take from the land, and you take the seasonal vegetables and whatever is growing at that time to enhance your own food,” Boyd continued.

Boyd hopes everything they learned Saturday will impact future generations.

“Hopefully it’ll start more of an effort to help keep the integrity of the land and preserve it essentially, not only for the ancestors of the Gullah Community but for the future of Agriculture in general,” Boyd said.

 

Check out the full story and accompanying video of Alani Boyd’s agricultural immersion at WCIV – ABC News 4.

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