Farm to school, also known as local food to school, is grounded in re-learning, re-establishing and acknowledging and supporting existing place-based food systems. As F2CC works to advance food systems rooted in place, and as we work to better honour Indigenous ways of knowing and being, we were pleased to share that during Farm to School Month 2021 we celebrated Land-Based Learning.
“Every culture, no matter their location, is connected to the environment. It is that connection where cultures teach their people how their traditional ways connect and respect all things in their environment. Indigenous cultures have lived off the land for centuries so traditional knowledge and connection is deeply rooted in the original relationships.” — Learning the Land
What do we mean by land-based learning?
Local food systems are rooted in the land we’re on and that we’re surrounded by, and this land comes with deep histories, stories, and lessons to share. We believe that education about our local food system must tie back to the land and its histories and stories. Land-based learning involves learning from the land and water, and understanding and fostering our connection to them. Farm to school is inextricably connected with land-based learning practices: land-based learning, as an experiential approach, helps us foster a relationship with food and understand how we sustain ourselves. Land-based learning is rooted in Indigenous teachings and worldviews, which should be acknowledged whenever this approach is used.
Land-based learning looks different for everyone and the experiences and relationships with the land will be unique for every teacher and student. We shared information, ideas and inspiration in the resources below.
Why is this the theme for Farm to School Month 2021?
As an organization that builds capacity to support vibrant and sustainable food systems, we see it as essential that more children and youth have the opportunity to think and learn about the land and their relationship with it, explore their own responsibility to the land, and consider how their own lives and health are interconnected with it. As F2CC works to envision how our own mandate, operations and institution can better honour and amplify Indigenous voices, perspectives, values, and ways of knowing, we acknowledge and celebrate the potential that land-based learning has to support both our mandate and reconciliation.
“Education is the key to walking on this journey of reconciliation. Teachers in particular have a sacred responsibility to ensure that all their children, regardless of their heritage, are able to think about four key questions throughout their education: “Where do I come from?”, “Where am I going?”, “Why am I here?”, and most importantly, “Who am I?” – The Hon. Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Learning about, and with, the land can give students the opportunity to explore these key questions (see learningtheland.ca), and it can help students develop a greater sense of environmental stewardship and responsibility towards the earth.
Many educators are keen to integrate more land-based learning but may not know where to start, or how to do this work appropriately.
As F2CC looks to support land-based learning among school communities from coast to coast, we were excited to celebrate Farm to School Month 2021 with:
Land-based Learning Resource List
We were pleased to share this list of resources that may be of interest to educators located in any region from any school from coast to coast to coast.
Land-based Learning Event
We interviewed educators about what land-based learning means and looks like to them, and hosted a conversation through our Edible Education Community of Practice about how educators can use a land-based learning approach to food system work in schools. Join our Community of Practice to receive more news about this conversation.
New Farm to School Visuals
As we look to celebrate and amplify the diversity of ways that farm to school takes shape in different communities, and to show how farm to school involves the whole local food system, we have developed the following two visuals:
Thank you to Carina Nilsson, Illustrator and graphic recorder, for putting our vision into graphics!
And, as with our previous Farm to School Months, conversations about this theme will continue into the year ahead. Stay tuned as we continue to learn about and explore land-based learning and its interconnections with farm to school.