May 072013
Hello all Athens’ Own interns, volunteers, and supporters. This will be my last log as an Athens’ Own intern. The reason for my departure rests in the hands of a few pressures, disappointments, and lack of personal accountability. Athens’ Own has opened my mind to a new lifestyle; we are confronted with truths so great in our lives and sustainability (listening to the natural systems) consumed me. I built much pressure on myself to understand every aspect of the the sustainability movement that, at times, left me no time to be a full-time Athens’ Own intern. I found myself cynical about our society making a necessary change with a business-as-usual mindset. Activism research and development took over from there. I’ve tried to, as always, connect my education and focus at this school to the efforts I can bring in my toolkit for these initiatives. Sad to say that not too many people care about university divestment, renewable energy, preservation, conservation, and all the great ideas to save our planet. We are, as a society, in a crisis of consciousness, but I have hope.
My tendency to overload my time for such passions was another pressure in the way. One too many classes and a schedule addition of two jobs to save money made matters worse. I am sorry for neglecting the mission of Athens’ Own and my duty as an intern. With the built up time and energy I have given to Athens’ Own in addition to my own lack of responsibility I felt disappointed as well. I wanted to be a great advertising tool for Athens’ Own. All I wanted was to help spread the idea, be the voice and liaison, and develop events and discussions about the overall mission. I always thought the mission involved bringing in the community to the life of Athens’ Own, but I felt like most of my time went to labor of bagging coffee and properly stacking boxes. I understand that this is not part of the checklist of Athens’ Own duties. There is a process of getting to the next level of this internship, but I felt I did enough personally to be confident in my abilities. I let my desire to create content shadow the detailed syllabus of internship duties and requirements.
I am disappointed for not being able to that chance and I am disappointed in myself for disregarding the team values. I truly wish everyone that comes in contact with Athens’ Own gains as much as I have during the past year. I don’t want to lose my connection to Athens’ Own. I love the Farmer’s Market and the Broadwell Hill Learning Center because those were times I felt more alive. I felt like I was a valuable piece to a perpetual motion of moments for sustainable change.
Mar 112013

Today I went into ACEnet to help Miles bag some coffee for the week. Alyse handed the torch to us as we went over a new checklist of items needed for coffee packaging. The main goal of today was to introduce how to begin coffee bagging without help from a supervisor. I was pleased that Miles and I knew most of the ropes, but we still need more practice to improve our efficiency and teamwork strategies.

I think the only portion of today that still leaves me confused is labeling the coffee bags before final packaging. The next improvement for Athens’ Own intern duties would be to create a visual aid for this labeling technique.

I’ll be sending an environmental impact report of Dawn Chorus coffee from my Environmental Geography class assignment. While its not extensive as Alyse’s piece, this can help us as interns understand possible shortcomings of classroom expectations, my personal mistakes as a student working on these assignments, and current perceptions and/or motives of the general student body.



Feb 252013

Athens’ Own meeting 2/24 -Reported by Mathew Roberts, Edited by Alyse Carter

Meeting time/place: Baker Center, 5pm


  • Reflection on articles
  • Recall Top Passion: systems-thinking exercise
  • Introduce PR project

How what we are doing impacts your passions~ we want to generate excitement!

>My Top thing I am passionate for: Sustainable Agriculture (permaculture), local food production, CSA programs

“Creating strong local food systems has potential to be the greatest force in the fight against climate change. Animal agriculture is the greatest factor in human-induced climate change; 40 % more emissions than all transportation combined. CSA programs create an attitude shift towards eating with natural seasons, while also creating jobs and keeping economy localized. Finally, by following natural, ecological design and promoting biodiversity, sustainable agricultural practices keep the environment healthy.”

Alyse: Preserving wilderness areas. Connected to writing press releases about Vermicompost.

Anna: Animal Rights. Connected to social media posting.

Miles: Community building, local market emphasis. Connected to cooking at the Farmer’s market.


>Systems-thinking brainstorming

My Question: How does buying cashews help the global climate crisis?

  • Local family recipe adds to artisan value, thus potentially preventing a purchase from a mass producer
  • Nutritional value: Cashews provide protein, fiber, fat — A great meat substitute to personally impact factory farming footprint
  • Potential of bags to be used for other storage, resealable;  extending bag life


>>PR Project

Consumer Interest Survey – We want to know what the customers want us to do with our funds.

Outlets: Farmer’s Market, Seaman’s, online

Possible Incentive: $1.00 off coupon for coffee, %10 off, etc


— Social Media monitoring


— Advertising or Reporting of final steps, conclusions back to community (Chain of command to Constantine)

— QR code (and/or) Check-box survey to slip in comment box


First steps/ assignments:

Team Work: Each intern compile 2-3 questions for survey

Deadline: Monday 7 p.m, via online message board, to be put into place by Alyse, by noon Monday. Secondary form of communication: email.

Next steps to be discussed at online meeting.


Alyse concluded the meeting with a scheduling discussion. Meeting adjourned at 6:45pm.



Jan 262013

I came to the farmer’s market today with the mission to help those interested in working at the Athens’ Own booth. Today the booth experimented with a new alignment that allows the cook (Miles) to be away from the natural flow of traffic of selling the products. I recorded the entire set-up from the AO workers’ point of view. We will be creating a visual map of this set-up if this new strategy becomes the norm; if not then we will create a map of the previous set-up.

I have a few notes that I have found to be interesting from my visit today.

Peppers                            Quart Jar                                    $10.00

Cashews                                 4oz                                          $2.50

”                                            12oz                                       $7.50

*Cashews are a secret family recipe of Constantine’s family. These spiced nuts are made every holiday gathering and has traveled generations to reach the Athens’ Own business.

Constantine’s On State

Oatmeal                          Bowl                               $2.00

Cheezy Grits                 Bowl                               $3.00

Coffee                             Cup                                  $2.50/3.00

Greens                            Bowl                                $2.00

Hamburgers                 Platter                            $6.00

w/Chips and Pickles

Worm Castings          Bag                                      $7.00

*Cheezy Grits and Greens can be a combined dish sold for $4.00. Hamburgers are made with Dry-aged local Angus beef. Sorry to burst your bubble, but “worm castings” aren’t some special dish from the food gods. Kathy essentially collects worm poop for you to have the most AMAZING garden! This process has good potential to become a multimedia piece/ feature story/ workshop.

Coffee (Packaged) *Specialty

$8.30        Bean              Full City, Vienna Roast

$8.60        Ground        French Roast, Espresso Blend

$8.90        Bean              Decaf FR, Hazelnut, Highlander Grogg (Butterscotch, Nut, Caramel)

$9.20        Ground         Decaf FR, Turkish (ground only)

*Alyse taught me a neat trick for remembering coffee prices: The price of all packaged coffee starts at $8.30 and increases by $.30 for ground, additional $.30 for Bean Specialty and an additional $.30 for ground Specialty.

To work at the AO booth  a few quick notes on booth duties should help you jump right:

Washing Dishes

  • Wipe off dry food with towel (Near Trash)
  • Wash dish in “wash water” — wash water is made with hot water and a few drops of Dawn
  • Rinse in cold bath — cold water needs a few drops of bleach
  • Air dry on rack

Running the Register

  • Working knowledge of product prices
  • From cash start at price of product and gather change up to amount of cash given to you.Count needed change first. For example someone buys a 12 oz bag of cashews and they give you a $20. Grab two quarters to get to $8. Then, grab cash to add up to $20 and this is the customer’s change.


This quick log will help you understand a glimpse of the AO booth, but to understand all the aspects you will have to get out in the field. Hope this has helped!


Jan 232013

It’s great to be logged in again. The best surprise of the winter break was hearing that Athens’ Own welcomed new members to the team. Hello Emma Buchanan, my fellow blogger. It’s a pleasure to this point to read your insights and discover new perspectives from your eyes.  The spark of the new semester was challenging, but I feel prepared for new action and activities.

I went to the Farmers’ Market with Gracie, a prospective intern and my best friend to visit the AO booth. One of the first things I noticed besides the absense of the usual overhanging tents were the newly designed price/info tags for the food. And more surprisingly the creative work of Alyse to organize the strength of the  morning brew by color coding. As usual, Miles sizzled curiousness from the crowd and I attempted to hold myself back from the cheesy grits.

Gracie’s mother Chris, an assistant professor in the school of nursing, stopped by the market last weekend. She told me that she experienced her first taste of steel-cut oats. ” I got oatmeal with steel-cut oats. It had raisins and was on a table with many different types of coffee. Immediately I knew that she had stopped by the Athens’ Own table. Although it was a first for Chris, I was pleased to hear the Athens’ Own name outside of the home boundaries.

It has been some time since I have been this excited about starting a new term. Half of my classes directly connect to concepts of the Athens’ Own mission. These classes are topics that include climate change, writing  in environmental sustainability, and environmental geography. These topics are important components of a sustainability education because the Earth cannot be environmentally sustainable if humans cause massive climate change and if advocates don’t understand their  home region.

Getting to know the Athens natural area will take extra time on my part. A few visits to the Broadwell Hill Learning Center could help if I do find the time to do so. My personal goal however is to get back to the basics. If I am going to be a strong advocate for sustainability I want to understand its literature and writing style. Planning this last semester was tricky, but my writing course should complement well with my commitment to College Green magazine. For them, I will read 4-5 books this semester and write book reviews for them.

It’s great to be back in Athens. I’ll be sure to fill everyone in project by project.

Dec 192012

Report: Newsletter

The farmer’s market was another hot-spot of activity for the Athens’ Own team. I gave a brief report on my recent visit to the Do The Math! Tour. In talking about the divestment plan activated by the students at Ohio University, we noticed that many of the participants of the event have common big ideas, but are too separated. With many people deeply involved into different organizations all working towards a healthier and sustainable world, why aren’t these teams working together? Yet, many of the people I met on the trip are in pursuit of doing just that. The first direct connection was with the President of the student coalition for the Sierra Club, Caitlyn McDaniel. I was able to share contact information with her to form a partnership on the way back to Athens from the DTM! tour. Luckily enough, Constantine introduced me to Loraine McCosker, the advisor for McDaniel’s leadership in the Sierra Club. She invited me to the Sierra potluck dinner on Thursday (12/6) to network with more people. In doing so, we hope to create a co-sponsered film-showing (Athens’ Own and Sierra Club). The goal of this showing would be to gain membership to the Sierra Club OU student coalition while providing information on academic activism through an internship with Athens’ Own. Overall, this was an outstanding public relations and networking day for Athens’ Own. This is one more positive step in the evolution of our newly-developed initiatives. After a successful project, we will be hoping to develop a graphic of the “interwoven web” of Athens’ Own.



Meeting with Loraine to discuss our work and exchange information was my first step in networking with the Ohio University environmental studies community. I have discussed Dr. Debatin’s environmental journalism course, but he is a Scripps professor. Thanks to Constantine, I was able to be introduced to an amazing person and an amazing opportunity. Loraine forwarded me to Dr. Dabelko, the coordinator for the environmental studies certificate. It took me little time to commit to this idea because of my personal holistic goal to “Emerge deeper into the sustainability, environmental and local food community culture”{ recent update from (11/27/12)}.  I have thus far contacted both Loraine and Dr. Dabelko for meeting again. It’s been a successful semester to this point because I feel like I am more knowledgeable about the Athens’ Own mission and history.  I’ve dedicated a large amount of time hoping to recruit more students to join this work. Most of the feedback seems to stem from not having enough time. While I feel that the lack of time can be an issue for most people, I personally thrive to open up time for Athens’ Own each week at minimum because this is a lifestyle I have a STRONG passion for. It is a shame it has taken me so long to solidify this following for the remainder of my time in Athens, but I am glad I have still this year and at least one final year to develop my work and the Athens’ Own  team.


-Mathew Roberts, Athens’ Own Intern

Published 12/19/12