Sustainable Agriculture Education and Civic Engagement: The Significance of Community-University Partnerships in the New Agricultural Paradigm

  • Kim L. Niewolny Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Julie M. Grossman North Carolina State University
  • Carmen J. Byker Montana State University
  • Jennifer L. Helms Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Susan F. Clark Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Julie A. Cotton Michigan State University
  • Krista L. Jacobsen University of Kentucky
Keywords: Civic Engagement, Community-University Partnerships, Land-grant Universities, Sustainable Agriculture Education

Abstract

Universities and colleges across the United States are making innovative strides in higher education programming to catalyze a more sustainable era of agriculture. This is clearly exemplified through the formation of community-university partnerships as critical illustrations of civic engagement (CE) for sustainable agriculture (SA) education. This paper explores the praxis of CE for SA education by focusing on the ways in which five land-grant universities (LGUs) with undergraduate programs in SA have developed and put into practice community-university partnerships. Drawing upon these programs and supportive literature, this article specifically attempts to describe the role and significance of CE for SA education, emerging community-university partnership models and their implications for prompting food and agriculture sustainability, and student learning and program assessment outcomes. We also reveal the many challenges and opportunities encountered by stakeholders involved in the creation and continuation of these programs and their subsequent coursework. Conclusions offer "real world" recommendations for other faculty, staff, student, and community stakeholders to implement and generate action-oriented scholarship for and with communities as a viable thread of SA education.

Author Biographies

Kim L. Niewolny, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Julie M. Grossman, North Carolina State University
Professor, Department of Soil Science, North Carolina State University.
Carmen J. Byker, Montana State University
Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University.
Jennifer L. Helms, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Susan F. Clark, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Associate Professor and Director of Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Julie A. Cotton, Michigan State University
Program Coordinator, Instructor and Advisor, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University.
Krista L. Jacobsen, University of Kentucky
Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky.
Published
2012-05-23
How to Cite
Niewolny, K., Grossman, J., Byker, C., Helms, J., Clark, S., Cotton, J., & Jacobsen, K. (2012). Sustainable Agriculture Education and Civic Engagement: The Significance of Community-University Partnerships in the New Agricultural Paradigm. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(3), 27-42. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.023.005
Section
Food Systems and Higher Education Call Papers