A new class next term at Brandon University will send students into the community to learn about and participate in local food initiatives. And if you’re involved with food in Westman, there’s an opportunity for you to get involved, too.
“I am eager to see what students decide to explore and what lessons they bring back to share with their classmates and with me,” said Kristen Lowitt, Assistant Professor of Geography at BU, who will be teaching the new class. “They will be expected to make a meaningful contribution to whatever they choose, and they’ll also be able to help share knowledge about the experience back with the community.”
Building that connection between students, the work that they are doing, and the community is an important aspect of the new course.
“I love that students at Brandon University can do so much of their learning out in the community. Research and coursework that tackle real-world issues are excellent ways to learn and this also helps build connections with organizations that may be their future employers,” said Bernadette Ardelli, Dean of Science at BU. “Food is central to our economy in Manitoba, of course, and it is also central to our day-to-day lives, not to mention so much of our culture and shared heritage — just think of all the holiday baking at this time of year. This new course will bring to light a lot of interesting local information that I am eager to learn myself.”
The new third-year course, “Food, Communities and Justice: Geographies of Food,” will begin in January with students absorbing a solid grounding of theory in the classroom, but as the weather warms up, they will be fanning out to the community.
“There is a big contrast between how food is produced at global and local scales, and Brandon is a really interesting place to compare both ends of that spectrum,” Lowitt said. “We have an agriculture-based economy that is organized for the worldwide market, and we also have very strong support here for community gardens, for fair trade and for local producers.”
Lowitt’s research interests include food sovereignty, especially in Indigenous, rural and coastal contexts. She is looking for local food organizations who are especially interested in being involved in the new course to contact her.
“The class will take an interdisciplinary approach, encouraging reading and conversations across disciplines,” she said. “While an important curriculum addition for Geography majors, the class may also be of interest to students in other programs such as rural and community studies, sociology, biology, and health studies.”
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kristen Lowitt
Assistant Professor, Geography
Director, Marketing & Communications
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