A garden's place in critical food systems education


  • K. Michelle Glowa California Institute of Integral Studies




Urban Gardens, Agroecology, Critical Food System Education, Activist Ethnography, Gentrification


For several years, hundreds of students have been tour guests and interns at a community garden, the Beach Flats Garden, run by Mexican and Salvado­rian farmers in Santa Cruz, California. This paper reflects upon engagement between the gardeners and local educational institutions and opportunities through three major themes: connection between practices of solidarity, urgency of action, and peda­gogy; possibilities in engaging with the frameworks of critical food system pedagogy alongside the les­sons of autonomia and activist ethnography; and the importance of teaching the history of agroecol­ogy and more broadly of social research in connec­tion with resistance to capitalist-colonial domina­tion. The article discusses what place the garden holds in expanding and deepening the scope of food system education through providing examples of noncapitalist exchanges and practices, a space of resistance to gentrification in a highly competi­tive land market, and decolonial foodways that emphasize gardeners’ traditional agroecological knowledge.


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Author Biography

K. Michelle Glowa, California Institute of Integral Studies

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Change



How to Cite

Glowa, K. M. (2022). A garden’s place in critical food systems education. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 11(2), 53–65. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2022.112.014