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The garden talks: cultivating desire for garden education at Killip Elementary School

Breña, Gina Meyers (2017) The garden talks: cultivating desire for garden education at Killip Elementary School. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Preparing our nation’s youth to live in ways that foster ecological sustainability requires education about food—its processes from soil, to table, and back to soil. This is the study of food literacy, a topic that is illuminated through garden-based education. And while school garden programs have emerged as an effective means of teaching students how to live in better alignment with the earth, they usually lack funding, staff, and school-wide integration. To help school gardens take root and grow, community partners often get involved to compensate for this missing support.Since 2013, Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) First Year Seminar class, Farm to School, along with the Sustainable Communities Master’s program have been solid partners of the garden program at Killip Elementary, a Title 1 school located on Flagstaff’s east side. Since its inception in 1996, the garden has grown into an after-school program for second and third grade students thanks to the dedication of key members of the Killip school, a variety of community partners and most recently, funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.While the collaboration of community partners has been incredibly valuable to the growth of the school’s garden program, it has also meant that the school garden is missing the ownership of key people from within Killip: the administration, teachers, the majority of students, and parents. As a result, the garden is under-utilized as a learning and community space, the garden produce has often gone to waste, and the impact of the garden is not meeting its fullest potential.In a quest to leverage the partnership between Killip and NAU, this thesis explores what members of Killip Elementary school want from their garden program as they transition to a new model of instruction, project-based learning (PBL). By utilizing the central motion of dialogue, reflection and action, two groups at Killip, which included three key administrators and the garden club students, reveal what they want to do, create and achieve in their school garden. Through this study, we see how dialogue can be a powerful tool for enhancing reflection and fostering collaboration between community partners around issues of food security, food literacy, and the meaning of a school garden.This research demonstrates how a partnership between a Title 1 school and a university service learning program can work together to co-create an action plan for the advancement of garden-based education in a public elementary school. Furthermore, this study exemplifies how project-based learning can be designed and used in an after-school garden program for young students and how educators can work with a garden in a PBL framework.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Education; Dialogue; Food justice; Project-based learning; School garden
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sustainable Communities
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 22:15
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/4950

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