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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Learning Ecologies at Rainshadow Farm: Fostering Socioecological Intelligences
by Bracken Ward, Katherine, Ph.D., Prescott College, 2012, 462; 3509727
Abstract (Summary)

Participation in learning to grow food is empowering and implicitly pedagogical. Learning on farms and in gardens can help develop agricultural intelligences, feed people, and foster socioecological intelligences simultaneously. This research was designed during the development of Rainshadow Farm, a newly established, small-scale agroecosystem on a one-hectare parcel of rural land in the southwestern Mojave Desert of California, designed to become a community learning center using place-based farm pedagogies ("learning ecologies"). The learning ecologies were developed collaboratively using locally relevant re-skilling workshops. Place-based farm pedagogy spills over into social life: sharing the observation of a piece of land and all of its inhabitants; growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating food together; and spending time becoming acquainted with people from diverse backgrounds. Farm learning centers with socioecological concerns and agricultural projects can be located anywhere—in urban, exurban, periurban, suburban, or rural settings—to promote sustainable food systems and ecological land use. The methodologies for examining the sustainability educational program at Rainshadow Farm were mixed qualitative approaches: combined heuristic methods employing phenomenological and other emergent, iterative methodologies to observe the interplay between human reason and emotion. Exploratory and applied case study, action research, phenomenological interviews, and grounded theory methodologies were combined, in three different phases, to investigate why co-participants might chose to connect with, restore, and protect their ecoregion and all of its life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Parajuli, Pramod
Commitee: Anderson, Eugene N., Janke, Rhonda R., Veteto, James R.
School: Prescott College
Department: Education / Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Agricultural education, Sustainability
Keywords: Agricultural intelligence, Collaborative curriculum design, Desert agroecology, Farm pedagogy, Learning ecologies, Socioecological intelligences, Sustainability education, Sustainable food systems
Publication Number: 3509727
ISBN: 978-1-267-36500-2
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