It’s Not Just About Getting Your Hands in the Dirt: Decolonizing Food Education

From kindergarten through their senior year, public school students are exposed to the unspoken complexities and power dynamics of the food system. This session seeks to explore the political ecology of food, school gardens, and food education through a decolonial pedagogy. School gardens can serve as mechanisms of oppression; however, this session works to decolonize both food education and the broader food system. 


We are accepting work that ranges from topic on large government entities’ impact on public education (such as the USDA and DoED) to the small but mighty acts that leads to food becoming an instrument of liberation. This session will be organized into rapid paper presentations followed by an extended panel discussion on the topic where academics sit beside expert-practitioners. This discussion structure is a commitment to community-scholar collaboration and intends to facilitate equitable dialogue with the intent of producing an ongoing working group. This session’s discussion will be elevated beyond this conference through local public media. 


Paper themes that may contribute to the goal of this session include:

  • Erasure of agricultural knowledge within the food system

  • Critiquing the coloniality of school gardens

  • Why school gardens fail? - Labor? Funding? Class?

  • School gardens as spaces of whiteness

  • Big agriculture’s grasp on school garden seeds

  • The DoED/USDA’s Neoliberal policies impacting school food 

  • Racialization of food education and the eurocentric notion of nutrition


If interested, please email a 200-word abstract and a brief synopsis of how your interests relate to this conversation on decolonial perspectives of food education to Annelise Straw ( and Nate Erwin ( by November 8. Participants will be notified by November 18, 2019 and will need to register with for the Conference by Dec 1st.

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