Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community
HomeArticles Posted by Beth Bridgeman

Author: Beth Bridgeman

Beth Bridgeman / Author

Beth Bridgeman is an associate professor of Cooperative Education. She teaches a series of Reskilling and Resilience courses, exploring seed-resilience, plant medicine, regenerative agriculture and commensality. Her pedagogy includes peer-to-peer teaching within a democratic educational framework. Beth directs cooperative education partnerships in sustainability, environmental science, biomedical science, and alternative education. She is co-op liaison to the science division and to the Japanese language and culture program. A recipient of a faculty excellence award from the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education, she is also an Oral History in the Liberal Arts Faculty Fellow, receiving funding for her project “Re-establishing a Seed Commons through Oral History Methodology” with support from the Mellon Foundation. Her concurrent research, “Pedagogies of Nature: Shinto, Spiritual Ecology, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge” recently received National Endowment for the Arts funding through the Great Lakes College Association.



Beth develops partnerships and field-based agro-ecology, Japanese cultural immersion and experiential education opportunities for Antioch students. Recent community-engaged opportunities have included a mud oven design-build, seed school, and fermentation workshops. She has led student trips to Seed-Saver Exchange and The Land Institute. In 2017, she designed a four-college residency with the Rich Earth Institute, during which students built a prototype urine-diverting compost toilet and learned about human nutrient recapture and in 2016 offered Ohayo-Ohio: an eight day Japanese symposium of 30 workshops, presentations, and films. She maintains relationships with alumni and partners in New England, California, Japan and Colorado. Current interests include basket-making, indigo shibori, soap-making, biodynamic agriculture and "mending as resistance".

Watch Me Interview


My Work


       Recent Presentations

Kentucky Organic Association conference, virtual, January 26-30, 2021. Seed Sovereignty: How to Save Seed and Why You Should.

Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions. September 25-27,2020. Seed School.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference, Spokane, Washington, October 27-30, 2019. Food, Forage, Farm, Feast: Teaching Reskilling, Sustainability and Commensality at Antioch College.

Society of Ethnobiology conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, May 4, 2019.

The Antioch College Apothecary: Place-Based Experiential Learning.

Environmental Education Council of Ohio conference, Perrysville, OH. April 5, 2019. The Outdoor Apothecary: Teas and Tinctures, Syrups and Salves.

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association conference, Dayton, Ohio, February 16, 2019.

How to Save Seed and Why You Should: Seed Law.

The Ohio State University, February 2, 2019. College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Seedsaving and Community Resilience.

School of the Alternative Residency, Black Mountain, North Carolina. May 24-29, 2019. Decolonizing Herbalism.

University of Dayton Lifelong Learning Institute, Oct 2, 2019. Seed Sovereignty.

Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions Pathways to Regeneration: Soil, Food and Plant Medicine conference, Nov 1, 2019. Decolonizing Herbalism.

Ohio State University Extension, Springfield, Ohio, Sept 25, 2019. Advanced Seed-saving.



Beth Bridgeman Re-establishing a Seed Commons through Oral History Methodology: Capturing the Story of Seed

Nov 24, 2019

“Re-establishing a Seed Commons through Oral History Methodology:  Capturing the Story of Seed ” is a research project that provides a venue for preserving knowledge of the nearly lost art of saving seed while grounding students in an epistemology of hope as they document change-makers who are charting a course forward into the great uncertainty of the Anthropocene. It highlights storytelling and mindful listening as a means of transferring knowledge from one generation to the next, and engages students in a high-impact pedagogy within a community of practice.

In fall of 2019, Beth Bridgeman, assistant professor of cooperative education,  offered  “Seed Sovereignty and Citizen Action”, an advanced level eleven-week course into which this project was incorporated.

When we save seed, we are saving the important germplasm, or genetic material, within that seed. But it is critical also, to save the story of that seed.  Who are those working at the forefront of seed sovereignty today? How are they saving seed, and why? What are their stories?  Why do they save this particular seed? Where did it come from? Was it passed down through their family? Which ancestor passed it down?  What mattered to those ancestors? What did they hope for? For how many generations has it been saved? How far back can the seed be traced? What are the memories associated with the saving of this seed?

Students identified, interviewed and archived the stories of seed-savers and those who are working to re-establish a new seed commons, thereby utilizing oral history and experiential methodology in their own learning, and making available to the public these impactful strategies of seed mentors and seed elders who are “fighting the good fight”.

Interviewees were identified through partnerships with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm AssociationRocky Mountain Seed Alliance, and Seed Savers Exchange.

“[But] someone needs to keep up an old method if it’s not to be lost; some young person needs to get interested and begin the life’s work of mastering the craft; be it botanical art or baking salt-raising bread or making saddles. Like lifeforms themselves, human crafts must be continually renewed, regrown inside a living person, or they become obsolete, extinct, within a generation”.[i]

[i] Howsare, Erika. “The Magnificence of Seeing.” Taproot, 14 Nov. 2017.

Listen to the Student Interviews:





Integrative Learning on the Antioch Farm: Global Seminar in Food, Farming and Resilience

Apr 18, 2018

Students in Beth Bridgeman’s Global Seminar spent spring of 2017 learning about biochar, wildcrafting, beekeeping, goatmilking, regenerative agriculture, horsedrawn plowing, culture and the power of food memories, culminating in an all day cooking session and feast.


Faculty Spotlight: Beth Bridgeman

Sep 29, 2017

Beth Bridgeman was the invited guest speaker at the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden on August 23 where she spoke on the history of U.S. seed patent legislation since 1930, gene trait and utility patent law and seed sovereignty. She is an invited speaker at the Ohio School Garden conference on October 13 and a panelist on “Community Efforts and Environmentalism”  at the Chatham College Food and Climate Change conference October 14.  On October 21, she is co-presenting  at the InFACT Seed to Sustainability Workshop at Antioch College with Dr David Francis,  geneticist and tomato plant breeder from the Ohio Agriculture and Research Development Center. Second in a series of four statewide workshops, the InFACT series provides professional training for seedsavers, grower and plant breeders. Bridgeman and Francis will speak on seed policy law for small-scale commercial seed production.


Student Spotlight: Valerie Benedict ’18

May 19, 2017
Valerie Benedict, Class of 2018, completed her most recent co-op at NorthShore University HealthSystems, in Evanston, IL last Fall. She worked in a hospital where she was stationed in the cardiology department. During her time at NorthShore, Valerie  says she primarily worked in data entry, and she also shadowed surgeons in various surgeries, which she says was her favorite part of the co-op.
She also had the opportunity to participate in the development of a research project on childhood consumption of high-sugar drinks, and its effects on children’s health at large. This manifested in educational programs in Evanston and Chicago area schools, and her team visited students to present “sugar shows,” as Valerie called them. In these presentations, the researchers would demonstrate the sugar content of various drinks to students. The goal was to empower students to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which contribute to various health problems such as obesity and cardiac disease. Ultimately, over the year during which the presentations and studies were conducted, Valerie’s team found positive effects in the schools they visited, although she says that schools in lower socioeconomic districts were less likely to have the positive results seen in the high-income area schools. The research team also compiled a paper on the findings of the study.
Since Valerie’s co-op in the Fall of 2016, the article has gone through an extensive process of peer-review. Now, the article has been approved for publication in a formal academic journal later this year, and Valerie is a credited co-author! Congratulations Valerie, on this outstanding accomplishment!
Text quoted from an interview with Valerie Benedict ’18 on May 18, 2017.


Student Spotlight: Julia Bates ’17 and Meridian Howes ’17

Feb 23, 2017
Having completed the rigorous, three-year Japanese language track, Julia Bates ’17 and Meridian Howes ’17 were awarded the Lloyd Family Fellowship and traveled to Osaka, Japan. While in Osaka, Julia and Meridian worked at Suisen Fukushukai, a social services organization providing a variety of services and care for both children, adults, and seniors.
Coop faculty and advisor, Beth Bridgeman worked alongside former Antioch College Japanese teaching assistant, Haruna Tomura, to establish this partnership. Julia and Meridian were the first Antioch College students to work at Suisen Fukushukai. The organization was thrilled with the work that Julia and Meridian contributed in their time there and look forward to continuing the partnership and hosting many more Antioch College students. Much of their work revolved around childcare, assisting adults with intellectual disabilities, providing services to senior citizens.
Check out a post featured on the Suisen Fukushikai webpage about Julia and Meridian’s time in Japan! For the Japanese version, click here. For the English version, click here.
For more information on Suisen Fukushukai, visit their site here.


Faculty Spotlight: Beth Bridgeman, Toyoko Miwa, and Louise Smith

Jan 11, 2017
Japan Foundation Grant Announced
Three Antioch College faculty members have received a $24,000 grant from the Japan Foundation. The grant is offered to support institutions “that execute proposals designed to maintain and advance the infrastructural scale of Japanese Studies at their institution.”
Building on the success of the Antioch College Ohayo-Ohio Japanese Symposium in 2016, Toyoko Miwa Osborne, instructor of Japanese, Beth Bridgeman, Instructor of Cooperative Education, and Louise Smith, Associate Professor of Performance, Antioch College will offer Ohayo-Ohio II: New Opportunities for Cultural Engagement, Building Foundation, “HIYAKU”. It will include Japanese cultural workshops and lectures for our students, faculty, and the community and highlight the work of Antioch College alumni working in the fields of kyogen, butoh, washi and sado (chado).
Miwa-Osborne will offer an “Orizuru” symposium, bringing the film’s director and a panel of collaborators to discuss the making of this film, which tells the story behind Sadako and the Paper Cranes, and the bombing of Hiroshima. Smith will bring visiting artists and alumni Abel Coehlo, Butoh performer, and Dr. Julie Iezzi, theatre professor and kyogen performer, to offer a variety of workshops and performances. Bridgeman will bring several additional Antioch alumni and artists from Japan and the U.S. whose careers in Japan or Japanese culture were informed by the experiential education they received at Antioch College.  Kyoto-based Richard Milgrim, a tea ceramicist and tea master, will perform a tea ceremony and lead a discussion and demonstration of his tea ceramics process. Chiba, Japan-based Everett Brown, a photojournalist, organic farmer and inn-keeper, will offer a lecture from his upcoming book on the “37,000 Year History of How the Japanese Do Things Special.” and will lead a session on the Farm to Table movement in Japan. He will exhibit his work in collaboration with Milgrim and University of Iowa-based alumnus and washi expert Timothy Barrett. Other alumni whose careers focus on Japanese culture and arts will be invited to participate as well.


Student Spotlight: Ruth Lane ’17

Dec 19, 2016
For the past three years, Ruth Lane ’17, a humanities major, has been a dedicated member of the Antioch farm crew. In that time, Ruth has expanded her knowledge of farming and has greatly enjoyed her experience. This past weekend she was able to represent the Antioch farm at a Community Garden Leadership Program in Dayton, Ohio.
She shared the farm crew’s experience of working with animals, as well as the benefits that the sheep, ducks, and chickens bring to the Antioch farm and the larger Antioch community. She described the farm’s methods of rotational grazing, sheep-powered land management and the additional benefit of pastured meat and eggs for the Antioch community. Ruth was able to form new, meaningful connections with the Dayton gardening community, which she hopes will continue to grow in the years to come.


Student Spotlight: Tyler Clapsaddle ’19

Dec 08, 2016

For his first co-­op, Tyler Clapsaddle traveled to the beautiful, isolated location of Lopez Island, WA. There he became acquainted with the owners of Horse Drawn Farms, “an 80­-acre market vegetable and livestock operation that acts under principles of stewardship, sustainability, and self­-sufficiency.” Working as a farm hand, Tyler spent most of his time tending to the livestock: herding sheep, milking cows, caring for the pigs. When he was not focused on the livestock, his responsibilities turned to more work on the land from tilling, planting transplants, to laying down protective cloth. He found himself immersed in a world of learning, always seeking to ask “why” and digging deeper into his work for greater understanding. As Tyler coins it, he is “forever a student.” Through this thoughtful meditation, Tyler found himself becoming more process-­driven in his everyday life, whether it be doing homework or completing farm chores. Beyond the daily work on the farm, Tyler worked to educate the locals on the efforts of Horse Drawn Farm, to foster an appreciation and support of organic, mindfull farming methods.


Photo Credit: Tyler Clapsaddle ’19


Antioch to Offer “Rethinking the Human Nutrient Cycle: Urine as a Resilience Tool”

Dec 07, 2016

The vision of Antioch College is to be “the place where new and better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education.”  In keeping with this vision of “new and better ways of living”, Antioch College has established itself as a national leader in higher education sustainability. In 2014, the College signed the Real Food Campus Commitment and is currently the second highest Real Food campus in the country, utilizing 56% real food; behind only Sterling College. In 2015, the College became a “neonic-free campus”, one of only three in the United States, committing to the Bee Protective Campaign, as recognized by The Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides. Also in 2015, the College signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and in 2016 The White House Educator’s Commitment on Resilient Design.

Antioch College is now ready to support the next conversation in new ways of thinking: closing the human nutrient cycle.  As water becomes more scarce, droughts become more frequent, and dead zones appear in lakes and oceans due to nutrient run-off, we can no longer afford our current practice of using potable drinking water to flush our waste into treatment facilities and on into rivers and estuaries.

Beth Bridgeman, cooperative education faculty member at Antioch College, has received a $4500 grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation for four days of campus and community-wide workshops on advancing the use of human waste as a resource in order to conserve water, prevent pollution, and sustain soil fertility. The workshops will be offered in spring, 2017, led by staff from the Rich Earth Institute, a national change leader in the issue of river and estuary pollution, water scarcity and human waste.  Through research, demonstration, and education projects, The Rich Earth Institute illustrates the positive effect of this approach in important areas including water quality, food security, energy use, soil health, economic sustainability, carbon footprint, public health, and emergency preparedness.

Along with their partner institutions University of Michigan and University of Buffalo, they are the recent recipients of a three million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The work of the Rich Earth Institute has been featured in National Geographic, NPR’s The Salt, Modern Farmer, and BBC Mundo, as well as in national professional journals such as Water Environment & Technology, Pumper, Planning, and Public Works. Their constituents include scientific research partners, wastewater engineers, environmentalists, and all people concerned with water quality and sustainable agriculture.

They have presented at conferences and symposia throughout New England; at Tufts, MIT, and six other higher education institutions as well as the 2013 New England Water Environment Association, the 2015 & 2016 Northeast Sustainable Energy Association conferences in Boston, and the 2015 WEFTEC conference in Chicago.  Their programming at Antioch College will be their first higher education presentation in the Midwest.

Workshops will include the hands-on building of a prototype urine diversion dry composting outhouse to be used by Antioch to train additional local and regional community members and organizations in this “new and better ways” technique. These presentations and workshops are being co-sponsored by the Ethos Center at the University of Dayton School of Engineering.  They will take place on the Antioch campus and will be open to the Yellow Springs community, public works officials, area institutes of higher education and interested people and organizations throughout the Miami Valley. Look for details in the coming months.


Student Spotlight: Jen Ruud ’18

Jul 20, 2016

Jen Ruud ’18 traveled to the Bahamas to be a part of the exciting work taking place at the Forfar Field Station. The Forfar Field Station exists to educate “students from American high schools and colleges to local Bahamians ­ about the environment using the local ecosystems.” In her time at Forfar, Jen wore many hats from facilitating trips around the island and out to sea, to dive lessons in blue holes, and even carpentry, gardening, and cooking! While initially focused on exploring environmental justice issues, through this experience Jen developed a fascination with teaching and learning. “I love seeing the look in a student’s eye the first time they hold a sea star or the smile on their face the first time we go kayaking,” Jen remarks. And while she never imagined it, her love and desire to pursue a career in education grew with each new, transformative student interaction. Learning by doing. “It’s about wanting to learn geology and oceanography because you saw the tongue of the ocean while scuba diving, not learning about it because your professor assigned that reading,” she states. Antioch has provided Jen the ability to learn beyond traditional methods and to truly immerse herself in experiential learning ­­ an opportunity she hopes to share with others.