Development of a Sustainable Food and Garden-Based Educational Guide for Conserve School to Promote Healthy Lifestyle and Food Choices for Participants' Wellbeing and Environmental Sustainability
Maxwell, Rachel E.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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This project developed and compiled lesson plans and activities focused on sustainable food and gardening. In doing so, the goal for this project was to expand the environmentally-focused curriculum and programs of Conserve School to include a crucial environmental topic. Additionally, it has required the utilization of the garden for education, rather than simply for a source for produce. The overarching and most essential purpose of this study was to connect participants of the developed lessons and activities with their natural environment, specifically, with regard to the origin and acquisition of the food they eat and how this ties into environmental and human health. The target audience for this project was the high school students at Conserve School, an environmentally-focused semester school in Land O’ Lakes, WI. This study reviewed literature on the connections between consumption and growing practices of both conventionally and organically grown food on human health. It also reviewed literature on the effects that both sustainable, organic growing practices and conventional growing practices have on the environment. Furthermore, this project utilized food and garden-based education programs in the U.S. as resources for the development of the activities and lesson plans. Finally and most importantly, the end product of this study is an educational guide comprised of lessons and activities whose goal is to enable students to understand and feel personally connected to basic concepts of gardening and food; cultivate viable, pragmatic gardening and cooking skills; and inspire and empower students to utilize and share these skills and lessons learned in their home communities.