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Student Research

Graduate Research

Current Garden Manager, Sean Dove, is in the early phases of designing his thesis project around the Student Garden and Dixie Plantation. His research will focus on the increasing in both frequency and intensity of flood events in the Charleston area. Sean aims to develop better forecasting techniques to help understand how tidal flooding will begin to affect food access, security, and food production in Charleston County. With the development of a basic flood model, he hopes to predict and display new areas that will experience tidal flooding as sea level rises. This information will be overlaid with existing Business Analyst data on grocery store/market location and parcel data on agricultural production spaces to look at what percentage of food access and production is in jeopardy from tidal flood events. Management plans and policy recommendations will be made to mitigate and minimize damages to food access and production in the Charleston area.

The Student Garden at Dixie Plantation will be analyzed with the flood model and a resilience management strategy will be created to promote development that fosters the growth of space for sustainable agriculture on the plantation while planning to avoid land loss from future flood events and sea level rise.

To learn more about prior research, please visit

Undergraduate Research

The Sustainable Agriculture Internship will explore where food comes from, gardening, and sustainable forms of agriculture. The mission of the Sustainable Agriculture Program is to provide and support experiential education, research, and food production for the College of Charleston, local schools, and Charleston regional community members using sustainable lowcountry gardening practices. The hope is that by providing this interaction, the lowcountry community will understand where and how their food is produced, and will feel empowered with knowledge and skills to grow their own food with practices that preserve the land for future use. Interns will have the opportunity to learn through hands-on experience, reviewing literature, and in-person discussions. This Fall, interns will be focusing on permaculture, community supported agriculture, and zero-waste practices.

Fall 2017 topics include:

  • Weighing the waste vs. waste audits
    • Can/Does the College conduct a waste audit?
    • How can the College of Charleston be more sustainable?
    • How can college students be encouraged to practice the principles of zero-waste in their everyday lives?
    • Are there local organizations that provide resources to support zero-waste practices?
  • What is permaculture? Why is it important? What are some local examples?
    • Exploring closed loop systems, perennial crops (agroforestry), multi-functional landscapes (stacking functions), water catchment, and working with nature
      • How can we practice these tenants in our campus gardens?
      • What elements can we educate students to use in their lives?
    • How do zero-waste practices play into permaculture?
    • Are there local organizations that provide resources on permaculture or support permaculture practices?
  • Are community supported agriculture programs a sustainable step toward zero-waste and permaculture?
    • How can the student gardens provide a community supported agriculture program that incorporates these practices?
    • How can we provide effective educational outreach events to the campus community?
    • Are there local organizations that provide resources for community supported agriculture?
    • Why is local food important?
  • Growing New Farmers Program
    • Understanding the efforts of Lowcountry Local First’s program:
      • Why is it happening?
      • What do participants learn?
      • How can the College collaborate?