Students in Canadian Food Systems: Community Perspectives and Experiences (SAFS-3340H), working in collaboration with The Seasoned Spoon, Trent’s on-campus vegetarian, cooperative café, have brought local food producers and community organizations together in a new webinar series.
The Collaborative Action Webinar Series features community food issues from a variety of perspectives.
Local producers, restaurants and organizations engaged
“We interviewed Vanderview Farms, Fresh Dreams Restaurant and Food Not Bombs on how COVID-19 has impacted them,” said Nicole Boere, an Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems student who has been actively involved in planning the series. “It was a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of food systems and acknowledge the way these actors contribute to culture in Peterborough.” Other sessions in the webinar series explored the Trent Vegetable Gardens and broader Trent University food system, the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian local food economy, and other local Peterborough farms that engage in the community and strengthen the local food chain.
Experiential learning goes online
Experiential learning has always been an important component of SAFS-3340H but COVID-19 challenged Dr. Michael Classens to consider how to incorporate hands-on experience for his students, in a year when most learning has moved online.
“Doing things is a great way of learning,” said Professor Classens. “Knowledge shouldn’t just sit on the shelf, action is important and webinars are a key way communities are organizing right now.”
Trent expertise helps students develop skills
The Seasoned Spoon has been an integral part of the webinar series helping to connect students to community organizations, with registration, and logistics as well as promotion of the series.
“When Michael reached out to us to ask if his class could work with us, we were more than happy to collaborate,” said Caitlin Bragg, outreach, education and volunteer coordinator at The Seasoned Spoon. “This is the first time we’re trying out a community-based service learning project in an online webinar format. It’s been interesting to see what the students came up with.”
Organizing a webinar with a variety of community organizations is no small feat and is a new skill that SAFS-3340H students can use for future classes and beyond their time at Trent University.
“This is a really wonderful project that gave me some hard skills that I can use and very tangible apply in hosting events and running community engagement activities that promote sustainable communities,” said Ms. Boere. “This kind of experiential learning opportunity places me in the Peterborough food system and reminds me I am a community member and I have the capacity to connect with people to build networks and contribute to the building of beneficial ideas and systems.”
Learn more about the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program.
Learn more about The Seasoned Spoon.