Holistic pedagogies for social change

Galvis-Martínez, Ana C., Brooke Porter, Paul Rogé, Leah Atwood, and Natalia Pinzón-Jiménez. 2020. “Holistic Pedagogies for Social Change: Reflections from an Urban Agroecology Farmer Training.” In Urban Agroecology: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Understand the Science, Practice, and Movement, edited by Hamutahl Cohen and Monika Egerer, 209–28. Advances in Agroecology. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429290992.

Abstract: The Bay Area Farmer Training (BAFT) trained aspiring urban farming practitioners in agroecology, using a pedagogy rooted in humanistic values, social justice, popular education, liberatory experiences, and decolonial and feminist frameworks. This chapter outlines the contra-hegemonic and participatory pedagogical philosophies and practices implemented within the program while providing examples of how the curriculum manifested in praxis. An analysis of BAFT from the perspective of participants and the founding educators leads to recommendations for educators and program developers to include social justice within urban agroecology curricula or training programs aimed at the transformation of food and farming systems. Educators of such programs should: receive training in restorative justice, anti-oppression, and conflict engagement; cultivate cross-cultural dialogue by avoiding alienating rhetoric or theoretical abstraction; build trust through mutual understanding of struggle and shared leadership; humanize classrooms by cultivating respect and appreciation with students; prepare guest speakers with limited experience in social justice and anti-oppression frameworks; and design values-centered curricula. Recommendations to organizations include: prioritizing emotional, mental, and physical health given the demands of these kinds of programs and the various issues people face in their lives; cultivating representative staffing and leadership; integrating meaningful metrics for tracking impact; and adopting participatory planning for future programs.

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