Action-Education and Training in Community and Agroecology
August 4-15, 2008
University of California, Santa Cruz
This year was the pilot course for a 2 week summer Agroecology Student Exchange. Five students from The Intercultural Universities in Quintana Roo and the State of Mexico participated in this exchange program alongside 9 students from the Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The course consisted of short lectures and discussions, hands-on activities with the campus compost system and in the Foundational Roots Garden, and site visits at local gardens, farms, and the farmer's market. Working together, students were able to combine theory with practice and deepen their understanding of the food system. Students shared in a rich cross-cultural exchange and gained insight into the importance of collaboration, direct connections, and new relationships. Building community became a key part of the exchange, a lesson that spoke to the vital role that community plays all over the world in developing sustainable and socially just food systems. They saw the power that they have as individuals but also recognized the need to work together collectively to create change. Through their experience at PICA the students learned how to apply agroecology in developing community sustainability.