Engaging Food Systems Holistically: Internship Innovation in Tampa Bay, Florida

Authors: David Himmelfarb*, Environmental Studies, Eckerd College, Malory Foster, UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program, Heather Marie Henderson, Edible Peace Patch Project, Mark Trujillo, UF/IFASD Extension Family Nutrition Program
Topics: Applied Geography
Keywords: food systems, internships, experiential learning
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In urban areas across the United States, movements to create more environmentally sustainable and socially just food systems have produced a wide variety of initiatives across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Urban farms, farmers markets, food banks, garden education programs, and food forests are just some of the many ways organizations have sought to address the environmental and social challenges of sustainable urban food systems. Internships with such organizations can provide powerful opportunities for students to directly engage with efforts to improve urban food systems and have become increasingly important components of higher education curricula and pathways to meaningful employment. Yet the holistic perspective on food production, distribution, access, and consumption called for by food scholars can be difficult to impart to students through traditional, single-site internships. The Tampa Bay Food Systems Internship (TBFSI), a partnership of more than 10 community organizations in Tampa Bay, Florida, seeks to address this gap by augmenting the single-site internship experience with a rotating series of project days at multiple sites of food systems intervention and an applied capstone research project. Through an analysis of program evaluations, interviews, and participant observation, this poster explores the ways in which an experientially rich internship structure not only exposes students to the diversity of food systems interventions, but also creates a collaborative environment where students can learn from each other and make important contributions to strengthening local food systems.

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