From seed to social agency
Keywords:Food Systems, Social Change, Food Pedagogy, Activist Scholarship, Community, Food Security, Experiential Learning, Participatory
Food studies is an emerging and interdisciplinary field that has produced abundant theoretical, analytical, and conceptual insights into contemporary agro-food system dynamics. However, space still exists for the convergence of classroom-based food pedagogy and transformative community work to promote social justice frameworks. While calling for a paradigm shift within educational systems, we ask, how can community-based experiential engagement in post-secondary food pedagogy enhance student learning, bridge academic-public divides, and foster transformative social change? Drawing from our experiences farming in Calgary, we argue that activist food studies employed with a learner-centered, place-based teaching approach centering Indigenous Knowledge Systems can support local food networks and build community within and beyond academia. We present strategies for bridging the academic-public divide through a participatory approach and activist scholarship that directly engages with sustainable urban and agrarian development. Complementing course-based theory and literature with applied methodologies that build the technical and leadership capacity of students will enhance student learning, build stronger community ties, and produce meaningful work that connects the local to the global. Furthermore, we will reflect upon our approach, identify potential benefits to students who engage in food studies, and offer recommendations for best practices in food pedagogy that will support social change.
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