My exploration into green social work is not only to bring my childhood vision to life, but improve my own mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
A deep dive into eco-social work has provided new language and theoretical frameworks for my natural interests and concerns.
My commitment to defining environmental social work on my own terms is to ensure that I am a good ancestor and create something that supports people while protecting the planet long after 100th birthday when I’ve left this earth.
I’ve wanted to live on a farm since I was a little girl, but I don’t just want to live on a farm. I want to live in a planned intergenerational community that provides:
- Shared homes for active seniors
- Tiny houses for traveling nurses and social workers
- Transitional living for program for 18-24-years-olds
- Training academy for 16–24-year-olds
- Resource center for college students and youth who have aged out of foster care
- Community garden
- Special events center
- Family enrichment center
- Coworking space
- Animal boarding
- Land leasing for other farmers
I’m planning at the intersection of Blue Zones practices, Kwanzaa principles, and the systems perspective. My definition includes a combination of macro social work and eco-social work. Environmental injustice, lack of affordable housing, the climate crisis, educational inequality, food insecurity, unemployment and underemployment, hopelessness, economic instability, commercial agriculture, chronic disease, disconnection and isolation, and a fragile food supply chain are all interconnected and all fit into my concept of the challenges that green social work addresses.
Black farmers (along with Indigenous and other farmers of color) face unique challenges related to funding, information, land acquisition, and helping hands. I am so inspired and excited by the return to our agricultural roots. Reclaiming our agricultural heritage allows us to rebuild our communities and seize our collective liberation in new ways.
I spent this weekend with amazing Black farmers. I am filled with so much gratitude after a multitude of emotions and experiences. The UJAMAA Farming Cooperative convening hosted at the Accokeek Foundation’s Education Center at Piscataway Park on Friday and the Black Agrarian Tour on Sunday which introduced me to Juniper’s Garden, Purple Mountain Organics, Deep Roots Farm, 3 Part Harmony Farm, and EcoBlossoms Farm were life-changing encounters. The sociologist in me loves that I learned new historical and cultural information. The soul of this Black is most grateful for establishing new relationships and receiving confirmation in new ways. Honestly, I’m still putting it all into words…so stay tuned.
I’m continuing to challenge the outdated, narrow view of social work so that more social workers realize they can do anything they want to do professionally with their social work degree.
I’m enjoying being a beginner in the agriculture, sustainability, and green social work spaces while discovering how best to invite others to join me on my legacy-building venture.
I am taking this exact moment to encourage you to explore new ways to social work.
Set up a 20-minute consultation and let’s chat about how I can support you as you explore your career interests and define social work career success on your own terms.
- Are You Ready to Explore Jobs in Green Social Work?
- Green Social Work: Supporting People While Protecting the Planet
Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.
© 2023 Copyright Protected. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.