Cultivating A Farm Experience: Perceptions Of Field Trips To Educational Farms
The growing distance of consumers from the source of their food increases the necessity of developing agricultural literacy. A farm is an effective venue for the development of agricultural literacy; educational farms can provide authentic learning experiences and help people make connections to the land, to the source of their food, to one another, and between classroom learning and real life. Field trips provide a way to introduce young people from nonagricultural backgrounds to farms and offer a variety of cognitive, social, and affective benefits. Grounded in experiential learning, informal education, and place-based education, and supported by an understanding of learning in museums and on field trips, this study investigated the benefits of educational farm field trips as perceived by farm educators, classroom teachers, and students. To explore goals and expectations surrounding school field trips to educational farms, interviews were conducted at each of three educational farms with the farm-based educator and with classroom teachers visiting the farms with their classes. Students participating in field trips to the farms responded to questions about their experience and learning. Inductive analysis of the data identified emergent themes and patterns; goals of each educator were identified and considered in relation to one another. Findings indicate that the farm experience, interconnectivity, local food, agricultural literacy, and curriculum connections are important factors in field trips to educational farms. Classroom teachers and farm educators tended to have similar goals for the field trips, but some differences were found. Students reported both cognitive and affective learning from their field trips. Logistical elements of field trips and approaches to overcoming barriers are considered. Implications for field trips and future research are discussed. ii
field trips; educational farms; agricultural literacy
Park, Travis D.
Crawford, Barbara A
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis