Chapter 28: Preserving sustainability: activating the ecological university through collective food practice
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Sustainability related projects and initiatives are rapidly becoming an integral part of the university experience. Often organized by student-led groups, these activities, which aim at skill-building and knowledge sharing, have achieved a recognized significance in the sustainability movements. The chapter studies the evolution of these initiatives, moving beyond simple participation formats to include innovative collaborative and communal forms, and claiming varied levels of contribution to community building and resilience, and narrowing the knowledge-to-action gap. This is complemented by a review of literature about education for sustainability on university campuses, experiential learning theory and models, as well as the role of food in university sustainability movements. The chapter uses Season Jars, a student-led project at Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec), to examine how innovative approaches to education combined with the innate interdisciplinary of food can provide innovative experiential learning platforms for sustainable development. The presentation is followed by an intersectional discussion between the project’s activities design and methodology, on one hand, and the existing frameworks and models on the other. The analysis contextualized and assessed Season Jars’ approach exposing the significance of the shifting roles of organizers and participants in building capacity for transformative action within participatory learning environments. The systematic investigation offers a universal framework that can be replicated in other universities.

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