The changing relations between school, food and agriculture. The case of the educational farms in Sardinia

Andrea Corsale

Abstract


Educational farms are a relatively recent form of activity for agricultural operators, aimed at spreading the knowledge of cultivation techniques, promoting healthy food products and supporting rural culture and natural heritage. They generate additional revenues for farmers and combine active learning and nutrition education, enhancing the awareness of the social and environmental role of the rural world. The Italian experience is mainly based on regional and local initiatives. The author critically analyzed the pedagogical offer of the network of the registered educational farms of Sardinia and conducted a survey on a sample of selected and representative ones in order to understand their views on the advantages and disadvantages of engaging in the educational activity, and to evaluate the current trends in this sector. The survey revealed significant strengths, related to their widespread distribution, their diverse offer and the ongoing educational training of their operators. However, several weaknesses, owing to modest revenues, competition by unregistered farms and lack of specialized educators, seem to hamper their further development. Proposals excessively focused on descriptive approaches and merely local features are also still very common.

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