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Seeds of change: reversing the erosion of traditional agroecological knowledge through a citizen science school program in Catalonia, Spain

Petra Benyei, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Laura Aceituno-Mata, Red de Semillas "Resembrando e Intercambiando"
Laura Calvet-Mir, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) - Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Javier Tardío, Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario
Manuel Pardo-de-Santayana, Departamento de Biología (Botánica) - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio Global (CIBC-UAM)
David García-del-Amo, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Marta Rivera-Ferre, Agroecology and Food Systems Chair - University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia
María Molina-Simón, Departamento de Biología (Botánica) - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Airy Gras, Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB, CSIC - Ajuntament de Barcelona); Laboratori de Botànica, Facultat de Farmàcia i Ciències de l'Alimentació, Universitat de Barcelona
Antonio Perdomo-Molina, Universidad de La Laguna
Sara Guadilla-Sáez, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, UNESCO
Victoria Reyes-García, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA); Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11471-250219

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Abstract

Understanding valuation of and access to traditional agroecological knowledge (TAeK) in industrialized countries is key to designing initiatives that can reverse the erosion of TAeK. We explored these issues using a quasi-experimental design. We measured valuation and access to TAeK with a survey before and after an intervention based on a citizen science school program. The participants were Catalan agricultural technical students (N = 173), i.e., rural youth with an interest in agriculture and natural resources. We found that the study population values TAeK quite highly and accesses it relatively frequently outside the classroom. Moreover, the intervention, together with hands-on activities such as home gardening, had a positive effect on how much and how often students valued and accessed TAeK. Education programs such as the one presented here could become allies in agroecological transitions that require TAeK to be accessible and valued by future farmers.

Key words

agroecology; citizen science; contextualized schooling; environmental education; knowledge transmission; traditional agroecological knowledge

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087