Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Rooted in Place: Growing and Learning from Cultural Tradition in an Urban Food Desert


Special Education, Foundations and Technology


College of Education

Date Range





This paper is based upon an empirical study conducted at a small charter high school in a large metropolitan area in the Midwest whose explicit aim is to empower students to engage in critical thinking and social transformation, from the classroom to the Puerto Rican community (Mission and Vision Statement, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School) through the use of social ecology, social-emotional learning, and critical pedagogy as guiding theoretical frameworks. Overall, the aim of this empirical study was to gain an understanding of how social ecology is used within a school to foster a particular ideal of citizenship and the degree to which it is successful in attempting to do so. I focus specifically upon the student-initiated urban agriculture program and the intergenerational learning enacted through this program. With social ecology as a theoretical grounding and urban agriculture as a hands-on practice, students develop an understanding of the interrelationship between the individual and the social-ecological environments in which he/she is situated. These understandings are highlighted within the school urban agriculture program in which students collect traditional Puerto Rican recipes from elders and grow the produce necessary for creating these recipes. Throughout these processes and observations, I draw attention to the ways in which the school remains firmly rooted in the history, culture, and geography of the community within which it is situated.

Conference Name

Ecojustice and Activism

Conference Location

Ypsilanti, Michigan

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