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Wiedenhoeft, Mary; Porter, Paul; Dehaan, Robert and Francis, Charles (2014) COMBINING FARMER EXPERIENCE AND ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE: SUMMER AGROECOSYSTEMS ANALYSIS COURSE. In: Rahmann, G. and Aksoy, U. (Eds.) Building Organic Bridges, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany, 3, Thuenen Report, no. 20, pp. 895-898.

PDF - English


To understand multiple dimensions and connections in today’s complex farming systems, it is essential to move beyond the narrow disciplinary focus found in most university agriculture courses and learn from farmers who are intimately integrated with farm decisions. In many ways, the classical agriculture department is a human construct developed for our convenience, and as such it scarcely represents an ecological structure operating on farms. To adequately delve into the mechanisms of crop/weed, crop/animal, product/market, and myriad other interactions involved in agriculture, it is essential that we draw on methods from the biophysical and social sciences to help us understand the human activity system that is farming. For more than a decade, we have led a week-long summer course that applies experiential and discovery learning to help students make sense of farm complexity. Students take responsibility for designing the inquiry, process information, and evaluate what they learn in the context of each farm. Team projects provide a measure of learning about farming systems, while individual reflection documents provide a place for self-evaluation and personal reflection. This course provides a bridge between farmer-based and academic knowledge, an integration of disciplines and methods, and a discovery process that builds student capacity to understand complexity and the dynamic nature of Midwest U.S. farms.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Subjects: Farming Systems
Animal husbandry
Crop husbandry
Food systems
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Scientific Track: 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference
Deposited By: Francis, Dr. Charles A.
ID Code:23912
Deposited On:30 Oct 2014 12:01
Last Modified:30 Oct 2014 12:01
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:urn:nbn:de:gbv:253-201407-dn053621-1

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