Here is summary information; for a portfolio of work including related posts, see the author link at right.
Here is an abstract of the project, and a location map below.
The following research presents an assessment of garden education in Portland, Oregon and its ability to act as a catalyst for change in the global food system. I ask the question, how can elementary school education play a role in changing our global food systems? The global food system encompasses the relationships between production, consumption and distribution of food products and biophysical aspects of agriculture. Educational philosophies inspire self-determination in students and demonstrate the potential for change spanning the spatial scale, from local to global action. To determine results I conducted interpretive interviews with educators, classroom observations and a curriculum analysis of Food Corps lessons. The curriculum was categorized into three groups based on scale; individual food choice, growing local food, and larger cultural or global scopes. The scales analysis suggests that elementary education primarily teaches topics on the local scale, working towards building blocks that could prepare students to understand global topics. Education is difficult to quantify, therefore direct correlation of global food system change and education was not found, but pedagogical changes can be suggested. Many current pedagogies are too focused on the individual without thinking about the collective, demonstrating the need for development of curriculum with globally focused intentions, and a larger scope of garden education throughout schooling.
Framing and focus questions
The ENVS capstone is defined by key questions. Following our situated approach to interdisciplinary environmental research, these include a broad framing question that serves as general motivation for this capstone project, and a specific focus question that defines the project’s research agenda. The framing and focus questions for this capstone are below.
Framing question: How can elementary school education play a role in changing our global food systems?
Focus question: How are spatial scales related to food systems emphasized in non-profit garden education?
Depending on its type, the ENVS thesis results in a variety of outcomes, including a thesis (an extended scholarly manuscript), or a variety of non-thesis outcomes. Below is information on this capstone type, with links at bottom to all outcomes.
Type of capstone: Thesis (regular)
Capstone outcomes (PDF): File