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Internationalizing Sustainable Agriculture Education
by Michelle S. Schroeder-Morenoa, Susan F. Clarkb, Carmen J. Bykerc, Xin Zhaod
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.023.007, pp. 55–68
Integration of international learning experiences into sustainable agriculture (SA) educational programs represents a unique and effective approach to help students improve their global awareness and citizenship, intercultural communication, problem-solving skills, and career development. While there are challenges to establishing international educational activities in emerging SA programs, the benefits of providing students with a global perspective to the worlds' food systems far exceed those challenges. This paper formalizes key considerations and diverse approaches for developing student-centered international educational opportunities for sustainable agriculture that have been assembled from literature research and from the collective experiences of the authors. A holistic approach is described, beginning with developing strong international partnerships built on reciprocity and understanding the diversity of international learning opportunities and development considerations; establishing learning outcomes and assessment; and appreciating current opportunities and challenges. While many of the experiences and examples come from land-grant universities (LGUs), enhancing a global perspective to all types of SA programs at various institutions is vital for preparing future food system leaders to advance sustainable agriculture in the global community. The information in this paper is valuable for SA educators interested in developing new international educational opportunities and also may stimulate further communication about shared pedagogical strategies related to international SA education.
Keywords: agroecology, curriculum, global education, international collaborations, land-grant universities, study abroad, sustainable agriculture
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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