Nourishing sustainability: bringing higher education and local food systems together through service learning and community engagement

Today marks the second and final doctoral weekend of the fall semester. Earlier, my cohort and I exchanged presentations on our essays about the intersections of our professional interests with service learning and community-based scholarship. As a way of sharing with the wider academic/professional community, here are the figures from my presentation, with my working bibliography for the essay. 

Figure 1: The intersection of two themes I am working with, i.e. the bridging of higher education and food systems and the continuum of praxis (theory and practice, thinking and doing). The figure that follows contains an idea that harnesses these seemingly disparate challenges together and provides a crux for my conceptual framework.

Figure 2: Education is cultural work. I like to think about what's possible when the worlds of academia and community food converge around the value and practice of sustainability. This work requires new, more responsive models that transcend traditional disciplines and methodologies. It's a call to "humanize the 'wicked problem' of food insecurity while creating new possibilities in our everyday work of resistance and learning."
Source: Niewolny, K. L., & D’Adamo-Damery, P. (2016). Learning through Story as Political Praxis: The Role of Narratives in Community Food Work. In J. Sumner (Ed.), Learning, Food, and Sustainability (pp. 113–131). New York: Palgrave Macmillan US.

Figure 3: Left: Higher education institutions are part of a wider community of educators and educational movements. Local foodsheds are the basis of larger social and ecological systems or bioregions. Zooming out, each of these sets of challenges/opportunities feeds into two larger pictures: education for sustainability (EfS)/education for sustainable development (ESD), and leadership & change. I am working in the middle. Right: Sun represents higher education, a formalized knowledge system. Soil represents the grassroots, dirt-under-the-nails" orientation to knowledge. Service learning and community engagement (where I am in this third phase of my doctoral work) are the "water" - what I propose is the third ingredient to cultivate sustainable (just, thriving, and ecologically healthy) societies.


As always, I invite your questions and suggestions! Use the tiny form under "Connect" on the left side of this page. 


Working Bibliography: 

Burns, H., & Miller, W. (2012). The Learning Gardens Laboratory: Teaching sustainability and developing sustainable food systems through unique partnerships. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
Carson, L. (2007). Crossing the line: Transdisciplinary education works because environmental problems and their solutions seldom respect faculty lines. Alternatives.
Kolenick, P. (2016). Rethinking Education for Sustainable Development: Interdisciplinarity, Community and Environmental Justice. In W. L. Filho & M. Zint (Eds.), The Contribution of Social Sciences to Sustainable Development at Universities (pp. 3–19). Springer International Publishing.
Murray, S., & Salter, S. (2014). Communities of Practice (CoP) as a Model for Integrating Sustainability into Higher Education. In K. D. Thomas & H. E. Muga (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development (pp. 170–188). IGI Global.
Niewolny, K. L., & D’Adamo-Damery, P. (2016). Learning through Story as Political Praxis: The Role of Narratives in Community Food Work. In J. Sumner (Ed.), Learning, Food, and Sustainability (pp. 113–131). New York: Palgrave Macmillan US.
Pudup, M. B. (2008/5). It takes a garden: Cultivating citizen-subjects in organized garden projects. Geoforum; Journal of Physical, Human, and Regional Geosciences, 39(3), 1228–1240.
Rojas, A., Valley, W., Mansfield, B., & Orrego, E. (2011). Toward food system sustainability through school food system change: Think&EatGreen@ School and the making of a community-university research alliance. Sustainability: Science Practice and Policy.
Sedlacek, S. (2013/6). The role of universities in fostering sustainable development at the regional level. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 74–84.
Sibbel, A., Hegarty, K., & Holdsworth, S. (2013). Action Research in Communities of Practice to Develop Curricula for Sustainability in Higher Education. In S. Caeiro, W. L. Filho, C. Jabbour, & U. M. Azeiteiro (Eds.), Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education Institutions (pp. 387–404). Springer International Publishing.
Sipos, Y., Battisti, B., & Grimm, K. (2008). Achieving transformative sustainability learning: engaging head, hands and heart. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(1), 68–86.
Sumner, J., Mair, H., & Nelson, E. (2010). Putting the culture back into agriculture: civic engagement, community and the celebration of local food. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 8(1-2), 54–61.
Sumner, J. (2013). Eating As If It Really Matters: Teaching The Pedagogy of Food in the Age of Globalization. Brock Education Journal, 22(2), 41–55.
Wals, A. E. J. (2011). Learning Our Way to Sustainability. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 5(2), 177–186.
Wals, A. E. J. (2015). Social Learning-Oriented Capacity-Building for Critical Transitions Towards Sustainability. In R. Jucker & R. Mathar (Eds.), Schooling for Sustainable Development in Europe (pp. 87–107). Springer International Publishing.
Withers, D., & Burns, H. (2010). Enhancing food security through experiential sustainability leadership practices: A study of the Seed to Supper program. Education, 2010.

Wortham-Galvin, B. D., Allen, J., & Sherman, J. (2016). Sustainable Solutions: Let Knowledge Serve the City: Greenleaf Publishing Limited.