The Value and Meaning of Experience in Food System Learning Spaces: Reflections from the Activist and Traditional Community Perspectives

  • Henry Herrera Center for Popular Research, Education and Policy
Keywords: Traditional learning, contemporary learning, food access, vulnerable communities, indigenous research methods, decolonization, Native American knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge

Abstract

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.

Author Biography

Henry Herrera, Center for Popular Research, Education and Policy

Hank Herrera is co-founder, President & CEO of the Center for Popular Research, Education & Policy (C-PREP). C-PREP serves vulnerable communities with participatory action research, training, technical assistance and policy. His work specifically focuses on food justice and building community resilience.

Published
2018-01-07
How to Cite
Herrera, Henry. 2018. “The Value and Meaning of Experience in Food System Learning Spaces: Reflections from the Activist and Traditional Community Perspectives”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 17 (4), 1085-94. https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1513.
Section
Themed Section - Food Justice Scholar-Activism and Activist-Scholarship (Guest Eds Reynolds, Block, & Bradley)