Using Food System Education to Promote Agroecology (a talk, with film clips), Sunday, March 24, 12:30 p.m.

Join us in Room 19 at 12:30 pm on March 24 as Green Sanctuary presents Bruce Ferguson and Helda Morales discussing their work in agroecology at ECOSUR, a research center in Chiapas, Mexico. Using clips from their newly released film, Within our Reach (Al Alcance de la Mano), they will talk about agroecology as the basis for fair, sustainable food systems. They’ll discuss using the LabVida school gardens and food systems program in Chiapas as a case study demonstrating the potential of school gardens work for catalyzing communities of practice. The film follows a group of educators in Chiapas as they and their students undertake action research in their local food systems. Their concern for their students’ health, for the Earth, and for their biocultural heritage leads them to rediscover local foods and indigenous foodways. The resulting conversations and actions build a web of meaning linking schoolwork, community knowledge, and the everyday experience of students and educators.

Bruce was a People’s Church kid. He grew up in Kalamazoo, went to K College, and then did graduate work at University of Michigan. He currently does research and teaching in agroecology, food systems, and pedagogy, as well as on scaling out agroecology to achieve more just and sustainable food systems. At present, he is in Ann Arbor, spending part of his sabbatical year at
U of M.

Helda grew up and went to college in Guatemala. She did graduate work in Costa Rica and then at
U of M. At ECOSUR she has documented the importance of traditional knowledge in constructing sustainable agriculture systems that avoid using harmful pesticides. Recently, she has focused on education and food systems, working with local and international organizations. Her current research involves school gardens, urban agriculture, and farmers’ markets. Together, Bruce and Helda coordinate Laboratorios para la Vida, an ECOSUR program that trains teachers to use gardens and food systems as educational tools.

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