Research Topic

Critical and Equity-Oriented Pedagogical Innovations in Sustainable Food Systems Education

About this Research Topic

In response to the confluence of ecological, economic, and social crises associated with modern industrial food systems, sustainable food system education (SFSE) initiatives have emerged in institutes of higher education and popular social movements across the globe. SFSE initiatives are characterized by ...

In response to the confluence of ecological, economic, and social crises associated with modern industrial food systems, sustainable food system education (SFSE) initiatives have emerged in institutes of higher education and popular social movements across the globe. SFSE initiatives are characterized by their emphasis on developing participant capacities for systems thinking, multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration, community-based learning, and collective action projects. Graduates of SFSE initiatives are prepared to contribute towards the development of alternative models of production, processing, and distribution to achieve food security at local, regional, and global scales. Additionally, SFSE initiatives seek to prepare graduates to engage with institutions of power and political processes that are responsible for the development of policies that shape and govern food systems. The complexity of topics and issues within the food system are not limited to expertise in disciplines traditionally associated with agriculture, food sciences, and nutrition, resulting in opportunities for innovation associated with development, implementation, and evaluation of SFSE initiatives.

This Research Topic seeks to be a platform to share recent pedagogical innovations for Sustainable Food Systems Education (SFSE). Typical SFSE initiatives are steeped in disciplinary natural science traditions that limit exposure to social theories and practices better suited to understand and address complexity. This narrow SFSE focus has been critiqued since these perspectives can mask and/or reproduce inequalities based on social and environmental factors that reinforce problematic neoliberal logic in our current food system. Rather, with an orientation towards systems thinking and trans-disciplinarity, SFSE initiatives call for opportunities and expectations beyond traditional approaches including collective action projects and community-engaged learning that invite collaboration with social actors beyond the academy.

SFSE educators will benefit from examples of curricular and pedagogical innovation that span the complex SFSE landscape, ranging a continuum of non-formal learning in grassroots movements, to formalized curricular offerings in university contexts. Examples include food justice-oriented courses that infuse a social and environmental justice lens to food systems issues, and global grassroots movements and associated programmatic initiatives, both offering on-the-ground models from which SFSE educators can draw. The overall goal of this Research Topic is to highlight pedagogical innovations, with the outcome of more critical and equity-oriented SFSE initiatives and a more just food system.

This Research Topic will include contributions on critical and equity-oriented pedagogical innovations in Sustainable Food Systems Education (SFSE) at the classroom, program, and community levels. Articles that focus on pedagogical innovations in the following areas/learning outcomes/competencies are encouraged:
• Theoretical contributions at the program level
• Systems thinking competencies/capacities
• Interdisciplinary education (within and between academic disciplines)
• Transdisciplinary education integrating knowledge systems beyond academia through partnerships with social actors, grassroots organizations, and popular movements
• Collective action, policy and advocacy projects
• Political formation and social mobilization
• Equity-based, intersectional, and decolonial approaches

To that end, the overarching questions guiding this special topic are:
- How are the social sciences, humanities, and the arts being brought into SFSE programs?
- How are feminist, posthuman, and postcolonial approaches to food systems education helping redress social, economic, environmental, and species inequalities?
- What pedagogies and principles are best suited to help students connect critical reflection on food systems with transformative action?
- What tensions arise in the classroom and beyond when critical pedagogies and principles are enacted? What concrete strategies might be employed to address these tensions?
- How do university and grassroots movements collaborate in advancing SFSE initiatives? What are the politics, opportunities, and constraints that structure these forms of engagement?

We are interested in manuscripts of original research, reviews, mini-reviews, or perspectives. These manuscripts might include discussions of how SFSE programs integrate elements of one or more of the following:
• Systems thinking, agroecology, food justice, food sovereignty, critical dietetics, Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies, critical animal studies pedagogy, decolonial pedagogies, feminist/intersectional pedagogies, trauma-informed pedagogies


Keywords: sustainable food system education, agroecology, food justice, food sovereignty, politics, postcolonial, feminist


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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