If you are interested in presenting or leading a workshop at the forum please contact us at info@acadiafarm.org or call Alex at (902) 585-1311.


Everyone needs food.  Food and the underlying systems that produce it profoundly influence every facet of our lives, including the health, environment, economy and well-being of ourselves and our communities. The recent turn to industrialization of our food system has transformed the way we interact with food. Despite the importance of decisions made about food and the far-reaching implications that stem directly from those decisions, the consequences of how we choose to relate to food are not often considered in an academic setting.

The potential to transform our relationships with our food exists. In fact, many would argue that transforming and strengthening these relationships is absolutely fundamental in order to create and sustain a healthy planet and society. Our existence is dependent on fluctuating, fragile, and frustrated ecologies, yet our current industrialized food system operates in ways that refuse this reality. Consequently, a shift towards an ecologically aware learning – one that is grounded in practical wisdom – has become necessary. The potential for this kind of shift to happen is exciting because it represents an opportunity to challenge and transform the way we think about food and challenge our current food system.

The North American university is familiar with the necessity of restoring priority to ecological awareness in part because relationships between food and learning were once essential to institutional sustainability. As new universities spread across the continent during the 18th and 19th centuries, agrarian labor on a campus farm was an unquestioned component of every students’ life, as the knowledge that food must be grown to develop ones’ community was clearly understood. In other words, the academy was intrinsically embedded in food production. Yet, those systems have since faded from prominence to the point where, today, private corporations orchestrate the cultivation of the foods that nourish students and faculty. Food and farms have lost the centrality that used to be afforded to them as globalized production and distribution systems rendered the campus farm obsolete. However, facing the agrarian, environmental, and economic crises that have arguably evolved through a dependence on industrializing that which had previously been decidedly non-industrial, what better place to start the shift back to an integrated agricultural and educational model than where it had historical importance and precedence? What can the university do to bring about a more responsible future for agriculture?

This forum seeks to explore the ways in which connections can be formed between farming and education and the potential for these connections to allow a reconsideration of our food systems Above all, this discussion aims to consider ways that our food systems can be transformed into more resilient systems that nourish bodies, soil, and minds. More specifically, how can both academic and agrarian knowledges transform through their mutual encounter? Schools, colleges, universities, farms, community gardens, urban agricultural networks, food banks, board rooms, markets, grocery stores, and the dinner table are all sites through which to consider these burgeoning links. How can rethinking these spaces in terms of adaptability, sustainability, reflexivity and community resilience better address the contemporary shortcomings of our modern food system?

Our nutritive and metabolic dependence on ecology must be seriously considered as under threat by the contemporary organization of food production — what better way to critically assess these mechanisms, than through a deeper consideration of food and farms; and what better way to deeply consider food and farms, than to educate about food farms, by practicing food and farms.

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We are seeking submissions of research and ideas for three specific presentation streams:

1) Curricular Integration –How can the study of food and food systems be incorporated into curriculum? What are productive mechanisms through which to introduce the interdependence of food access and knowledge access? How can educators and students better use their resources to promote a symbiotic relationship between the Academy University and the Farm?

2) Research – In what ways can researchers cut into the overlapping sites of the University and the Farm? What are the different ways that researchers can consider and conceptualize food and food systems?  In what ways can researchers cut into the overlapping sites of the Academy and the Farm? How can food access and knowledge access be reconceptualized so as to enable a more ecologically aware and socially responsible community model?

3) Building Political Transformation – What strategies and tactics can be employed within and between the University and the Farm to mobilize individuals and communities towards a dramatic rethinking and repurposing of our modern food system?


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1 Response to “Call for Papers”

  1. 1 Carol E. Harris October 28, 2009 at 9:34 am

    To Alex and organizers of this event;

    Are you accepting papers, or workshops based on papers, at this late date? If so, I would prepare a brief paper addressing the first issue — curricular integration. A colleague, Dr. Barbara Barter from NL, and I are preparing a research proposal for a revised rural educational curriculum which is to include food security. My own paper will address the rationale for rural activity in the first place, emphasizing 1) social justice in terms of relavance to rural people and 2)the implication of climate change regarding the necessity of local farming. Although our research focus is school curricula, our scope is lifelong learning and international.

    Let me know if I can take part in the upcoming forum. My paper would be co-authored by Dr. Barter although she will not be present.


    Carol Harris
    Professor Emeritus
    University of Victoria
    Phone: Wolfville, 542-3400

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The Acadia Community Farm began in the spring of 2008 with the vision of providing local, organic produce to the dining hall at Acadia University, while also serving as a community garden. The Farm has grown to become an educational community centre for the exchange of knowledge surrounding gardening, food, and sustainable agriculture. Explore the site to find out more or stop by the Farm for a visit!


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