Ryan Galt from UC Davis gave a talk at the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA’s) 2012 conference on the importance of learner-centered inquiries in food systems education. I found a frank discussion on how to motivate and empower students to create positive changes in the food system without completely depressing them very helpful for my teaching. I’m not sure how well I did, though! At the end of each class I taught Fall 2012 I would check in with my students about our reading and discussion for that day and ask them where they were on the scale of empowered/ inspired to depressed/powerless. Apparently most of our readings were pretty depressing. While some issues in the food system can seem insurmountable, it is our challenge as educators to be honest about the current situation while providing tools for students to be constructively involved in creating solutions in line with their academic and personal interests.
Ryan is now a member representative on the SAEA steering council and we’re excited to have him and the other new members involved.
Here are some related publications from Ryan and his SAEA and non-SAEA collaborators.
You might also want to check out the special issue of JAFSCD on higher education and food systems.