Safe spaces for youth "At Risk": transformative learning through food system awareness

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

The paper will discuss how farm based empowerment programs directed at youth "at risk" through the construction of "safe spaces" around farming, cooking and different workshops, and with a critical approach to the food system can provide a framework for transformative learning. Data in the research project is produced through long term anthropological fieldwork with participant observations and ethnographic interviews with a cohort of high school youth participating in a specific Californian program. Narratives from the youth illustrate a variety within the program discourse of empowerment as different motivations, strategies and outcomes from participation in the program activities that can be identified in two main trajectories: network building and job training and emerging activist identities engaging youth in food justice issues and movement building in local communities. The research shows how a specific pedagogy as it is practiced and contextualized within a critical approach to the food system can engage and motivate high school youth to transform social relations, identities and learning. On a general level the research contributes to current discussions on the potentials for learning, democratic participation and citizenship education through farming and gardening.

Keywords: Food Systems, Transformative Learning, Youth Empowerment
Stream: Food Policies, Politics and Cultures
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in a Themed Session in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted
Original languageEnglish
Publication year1 Jul 2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
EventFood Studies - Virginia, United States
Duration: 18 Sep 201519 Sep 2015


ConferenceFood Studies
CountryUnited States

    Research areas

  • Food systems, safe spaces, farming practices, youth at risk, cooking, tasting experience, personal development

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