Sustainable Agriculture Education Program at Duke Campus Farm


Fall 2012 - Spring 2013


The goal of this study was to create a guide that aids individuals and institutions develop educational programs about sustainability for their farms. Interest in such programs is increasing and relatively few guides are available. The Duke Campus Farm is the intended first audience. To create this guide, I assessed current practices in sustainable agriculture education (SAE) using two methods: a curricular analysis of various courses about farming education, and in-person interviews with observations of existing local programs. I evaluated fifty-eight syllabi from 30 post-secondary institutions using three broad “meta-categories”: Content, Tools, and Approach. I performed interviews and observations about local best practices, needs of different ages and useful educational activities. The curricular analysis showed consistency for 14 content areas, 10 tool areas, and 10 approaches. For Content the top five were categories were Sustainable Agriculture Theories and Concepts, Farm Management, Production Methods, Soil and Natural Science. For Tools, these categories were Traditional Academic, Hands-On Experiences, Comparisons, Evaluations, Assessments and Analyses (CEAA), Projects and Community Building. Lastly for Approaches,the categories were Traditional Academic, Experiential Learning, Environmental Education, Cooperative Learning and Multidisciplinary. From the curricular analysis, the Programming for Education in Agriculture and Sustainability (PEAS) tool was created to educate the user about relationships of each of theses meta-categories. From the interviews, recurrent advices in the following 4 areas emerged: Activities or Lessons, Infrastructure Design, Participant Management and, Program and Curriculum Design. Results from both methods combined allowed for a powerful decision making tool for various institutions. In addition to highlighting salient factors present, the systematic analysis of syllabi identified gaps that can improve SAE and help clarify a standard for the discipline.

Location: Duke Campus Farm



Damon Cory-Watson


Chantal Reid


Duke Campus Farm

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Curriculum, Food & Dining, student education, sustainable agriculture