Achieving Program Goals? An Evaluation of Two Decades of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz
Keywords:Apprenticeship, Adult Education, Beginning Farmers, Experiential Learning, Organic Farming, Sustainable Agriculture, Food Systems
AbstractThe Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture (AEH) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been teaching people organic and ecological horticulture for 43 years. This paper examines the extent to which the program has met the goals of growing farmers and gardeners, and contributing to change in the food system. It also explores specific programmatic ways the AEH contributed to these outcomes. We surveyed program alumni from 1989 through 2008. Findings suggest that the program has successfully met its goals. According to alumni suggestions, the primary way the program contributed to these outcomes was by developing apprentice knowledge and skills through hands-on activities. In addition, other educational components, not always explicitly addressed in similar programs, were also key. We use different learning theories to help understand the AEH’s success and make recommendations for similar programs.
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