Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education


Campus Kitchen provides an environment that is ripe for community-based, experiential-learning experiences, especially on the topic of Eco-Justice. Student volunteers have substantive opportunities to investigate and promote various food justice and hunger advocacy initiatives, as well as form meaningful personal relationships with those whom they serve. Volunteers are encouraged to learn everything from the practical skills of food preparation to the social forces that underlie food insecurity in the community. Still, many Campus Kitchen participants remain unaware of the seriousness of food waste and “throwaway” cultural attitudes that perpetuate hunger. This paper presents data illustrating the different levels of understanding and action-motivations for volunteer involvement at the kitchen, concluding that a richer vision of Eco-Justice is needed. Findings from the research led program leaders to re-envision their approach to, and understanding of, justice education. Empowering students to be in the driver’s seat of their education, as well as imbuing people with tools to be in charge of their own nutrition, is the best recipe for personal growth and social change.

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