Community as Context and Content: A Land-Based Learning for Primer for Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education


  • Aaron J. McKim Michigan State University
  • Matt R. Raven Michigan State University
  • Abbey Palmer Michigan State University
  • Ashley McFarland Minnesota Sea Grant



experiential learning, sustainability, transdisciplinary, systems-thinking, problem-based, land-based learning


Mitigating socio-ecological problems like pollution, climate change, and environmental degradation is increasingly essential to sustaining life on Earth. The urgency required to address these challenges throughout Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) Education while simultaneously enhancing the quality of educational experiences offered at the local level requires members of the AFNR Education community continuously identify, critique, implement, and evaluate potentially transformative pedagogical methods. This white paper serves as a primer for a new pedagogical approach to be considered throughout all levels of AFNR Education, land-based learning – defined as a pedagogical approach in which students collaborate with community members to implement place-based interventions within AFNR to increase the sustainability of their community. As an introduction to land-based learning, this review (a) explores the foundations of land-based learning by introducing place-based and land-based education, (b) outlines a four-step approach (i.e., identification, understanding, intervention, and evaluation) to implementing land-based learning within AFNR Education, and (c) illuminates empirically-identified outcomes of land-based learning. As land-based learning is explored, its potential to pragmatically equip communities to empower future generations of learners with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to solve socio-ecological problems is highlighted.


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How to Cite

McKim, A. J., Raven, M. R., Palmer, A., & McFarland, A. (2019). Community as Context and Content: A Land-Based Learning for Primer for Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(1), 172–185.




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