Place-based pedagogy: Campus gardens as transformative outdoor classrooms

Authors: Maggie Siebert*, University of New Mexico, Tema Milstein, University of New Mexico
Topics: Higher Education, Cultural Ecology, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Place-based, Community Gardens, Pedagogy, Multidisciplinary, food
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony N, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Using place-based pedagogy, university campus food gardens can provide spaces for transformative multidisciplinary projects. This paper addresses the co-authors’ experiences as university instructors engaged in experiential education focused on transforming place and, in the process, building community and nurturing social and environmental change agents. We present practices for grounded programmatic innovative teaching that engages the university institution as a space within which transformative change is made, community is generated and engaged, and students and teachers meet multidisciplinary learning objectives while directly changing the university landscape to be more sustainable and regenerative.

In presenting both personal and institutional goals and outcomes as interdisciplinary campus garden founders and teachers, we share the history of establishment and institutionalization of campus food gardens at one higher education institution -- University of New Mexico -- over the past eight years. We pay particular attention to novel forms of experiential field-based learning such as: the development of hands-on and immersive learning, the pedagogy of the inside-out classroom, the privileging of non-university community teachers, and the transdisciplinary integration of course content. We also visit ways that placing an academic course in an outdoor food/community-growing setting allows for immersive, dynamic, unpredictable, and fulfilling learning, and illustrate ways such courses can engage themes such as climate disruption, food security/access, social justice, local food sheds, and indigenous and traditional agricultural methods via applied interaction.

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