Through the garden gate: Examining ‘the edible and the equitable’ in garden-based learning programs Public Deposited

Schoolyard gardens have existed in the United States for well over a century and are experiencing a sweeping national resurgence. Garden-based learning programs seek to educate students about food-related knowledge, or food literacy, albeit in an era of expanding food insecurity and food-related injustice. Thus, it is important to clarify and understand the content and major themes of these programs, in addition to to the educational theories, or pedagogies, that undergird them and their instruction about food-related ‘literacies.’ Therefore, in this thesis I will investigate garden-based education as a forum for discussion about the injustices plaguing our society and how they manifest in the food system. I interrogate seven national, K-12 garden-based curricula programs. Accordingly, I pose three research questions in an effort to assess the ability of these unique educational platforms to contribute to food system and social justice knowledge. First, an investigation into the dominant themes of national-levelK-12 GBL programs is conducted. Next, I investigate how these K-12 garden-based programs address food system inequities and social injustice. Finally, I identify underlying pedagogical approaches and how they might enhance critical literacy about food systems and society.

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