The Value and Meaning of Experience in Food System Learning Spaces: Reflections from the Activist and Traditional Community Perspectives
This paper explores the differing values and meanings assigned to experience in traditional and academic learning spaces as well as the value and meaning assigned to multigenerational experience in traditional cultures and in contemporary cultures. Learning is partitioned into an array of learning spaces. One major partition separates learning in the community from learning in the academy. Learning in these two spaces impacts on our understanding of the work of creating food justice and food sovereignty. For example, learning in community—in particular, in traditional cultures—depends on the oral sharing of both knowledge and wisdom from elders to younger generations, with respect and even reverence for elders. Learning in the academy, and in contemporary, technology-driven culture, depends on fast-paced innovation driven by the energy and creativity of young people, with the highest respect given to the newest research publications and “applications” attracting the largest investments and capturing global markets. This dynamic poses a significant problem for the development of equitable, just food systems, specifically local food systems intended to increase access to healthy food within vulnerable populations. The paper concludes with recommendations for bringing the benefits learning in both spaces to the most vulnerable communities.
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