Kitchen Wizards: Community Engaged Learning at The Wolfville Farmers’ Market
Keywords:community service-learning, undergraduate food studies, sustainable food systems education, community-university partnerships
This article tells the story of an introductory, undergraduate required course with a significant community service-learning project developed in partnership between the School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University and the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. This partnership began in 2009, with the vision of putting food and community at the centre of the School’s pedagogy. After two years of developing a trusting relationship between the partners with the integration of focused assignments, a community-service learning initiative called Kitchen Wizards was created. Kitchen Wizards, now in its 10th year, engages 50 to 80 first-year School of Nutrition and Dietetics’ students with the community each fall semester through a Food Commodities course. The initiative introduces 6 to 12-year-old children to in-season local vegetables through a taste-testing experience centered around a simple, healthy recipe made from local produce at the Farmer’s Market, which gives the children purchasing power to buy a vegetable with a three-dollar voucher after participating in the tasting. This Kitchen Wizard’s story was developed from an action research case study, grounded in a constructivist paradigm, which explored the community-valued outcomes of this program over a three-year period, as well as the student and institutional benefits. This study was conducted by a team that included the Wolfville Farmers’ Market Coordinator and the Director of the School of Nutrition and Dietetics who teaches the Food Commodities course. Through observation, dialogue and in-depth interviews conducted with students, teaching assistants, community members, Market staff, faculty, and university administration, insights were derived that illuminate community engaged learning as a key strategy for teaching about local food systems that puts both food and community at the centre.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Mary Margaret Sweatman, Barb Anderson, Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Alan Warner, Janine Annett
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