How do we relate to each other, our culture, and the environment?
How is curriculum used to engage youth in this process of relating?
How is curriculum tied to the social, economic, ecological, and cultural needs of the community?
How do schools create authentic teaching and learning opportunities that engage teachers and students in the process of community building and knowledge sharing?
An Urban Agriculture and Social Ecology Approach
The answers to each of these questions is the same: through authentic, community-based teaching and learning within the context of urban agriculture and social ecology. An approach th at meets the critical needs of the community as a wh ole, by:
Developing a st u dent ce ntered-a p proa ch to educa ti on
Increa si ng opportunities for youth t o connect w ith each other and th e ir enviro n ment
Im proving the quality of health and nutritio n
Improving the qualit y of the air, water, and land
Creating oppo r tunities for economic growth and sustaina bilit y
Preserving cultural and multi- g en era tional knowledge
Urban agriculture is the practice of growing and distributing food locally, and is, by nature, a practice that connects people with each other and their environment in a way that is participatory, democratic, and just.
Local food p roductio n leads to increased food security and sustainable communi ty practices that benefit communities in the following w ays:
Increases access to fresh foods that are healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant
Decreases air and water pollution in urban areas
Leads to the beautification of urban communities
Decreases incidences of obesity, heart disease, and asthma
Leads to a more engaged community
Benefits of an Urban Agriculture Social Ecology Curriculum
Benefits of the Curriculum:
Connects teaching and learning to community building and knowledge sharing
Engages the community in the education of youth, integrating the curriculum across organizations, cultures, and generations
Presents education in the context of environmental and social justice
Empowers youth as agents of change
Provides authentic learning experiences that make learning personally, culturally, and politically relevant
Leads to the self-actualization and self-reliance of youth
Increases social capital of the community
Benefits of an Urban Agriculture and Social Ecology Curriculum
Increased competence in math and science
Increased cultural awareness
Deeper understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge
Development of skills in critical thinking, community inquiry, and scientific exploration and discovery
Create integrated science and math curricu la that are foc used on so cial ecology an d urb an agri culture
Foment the greening and beautification of Paseo Boricua by cultivating flowers in the planters and at La Casita de Don Pedro
Demonstrate the feasibility of urban agriculture in P aseo Boricua by germinating fruit, vegetable and herb seedlings in the classroom, planting the see dlings in the Community Garden and p roducing sofrito
Community Informatics is a participatory approach to research, inquiry, and community building that focuses on understanding how communities create and mobilize knowledge in all its forms, especially using information and communication technologies (ICTs).