Mark Clarke

Mark Clarke grew up on farmland outside of Asheville, N.C., that has been in his family for 100 years.

Name a job on a farm – fixing fences, raising livestock, picking apples – he’s done it.

Along the way, the 2011 Eve Carson Scholar says, he learned “the joys, sorrows and frustrations of working in the dirt.”

As a member of the Student Garden Co-op, he was among the founders of the Carolina Campus Community Garden (CCCG). The garden grows fresh, organic, inexpensive produce for low-wage UNC staff members and strengthens community among staff and students.

The impetus to build the garden came from UNC employees’ growing awareness of the struggle of low-wage workers to feed their families, says Claire Lorch, CCCG director.

Clarke, an English major, is one of two juniors to win the scholarship, established in 2008 in memory of Eve Carson, UNC’s 2007-08 student body president, who died that year. One of what Carson called her “Big Ideas” as president was to create a merit-based scholarship for UNC juniors.

The award funds half the cost of attending Carolina in the senior year, plus $5,000 for a summer enrichment experience. Clarke’s goal for his summer experience is “to build authentic community and individual growth around the labor of food production, preparation and consumption.”

First he’ll work with Lorch and the N.C. Botanical Garden to bring local at-risk teens to volunteer in the garden. He hopes this will “provide the participants with a sense of self-worth and an understanding of their own ability to contribute to and receive help from a community.”

Early next year, after a study abroad semester in Mendoza, Argentina, Clarke plans to volunteer with the T. Borda Community Garden in Buenos Aires, which is located on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital.

“I hope to see the way a more established garden works to incorporate people from different walks of life into a coherent community with a similar goal.”

Ultimately, Clarke plans to bring that experience, and some polished Spanish-speaking skills, back to Chapel Hill and the CCCG.

Other Recent Profiles

Nassib Nassar

When his fingertips touch the keys of the piano, Nassib Nassar tells a story. As he plays, he listens — …

Deepa Damre

When Deepa Damre started law school at Carolina in the late 1990s, she knew she wanted to go into corporate …

Lindsay Jaacks

The air pollution in China was so horrifying that UNC School of Medicine graduate student Lindsay Jaacks had to wear …

Jonny Leano

When UNC graduate student Jonny Leano was growing up in Maui, Hawaii, he didn’t have many opportunities to learn about …

Tracy Raines

Hometown: Grundy, Virginia Undergraduate: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Unlike many graduate students in the biosciences, Biology student Tracy …

Lewis Lucke

Ambassador Lewis, executive director of Daroke Resources and president of Lewis Lucke LLC, served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom …

Sam Odom

Because research ties directly to the problems of everyday life, Sam Odom and his colleagues at the Frank Porter Graham …

Aaron Ernst

As part of his job, Carolina graduate Aaron Ernst canoed for eight hours down the Tuckaseegee River in Western North …

Diva Desai

Diva Desai is a marketing supervisor for McDonald’s Corporation and a member of the USA National Handball Team. She earned …