International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Cooperation Models, Motivation and Objectives behind Farm–School Collaboration: Case Insights from Denmark

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 23, issue 1 (2016), pages 41–62

Authors: Pernille Malberg Dyga and Bent Egberg Mikkelsenb
Affiliation: aDepartment of Nutrition and Midwifery, Metropolitan University College, Copenhagen, Denmark; b Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark

ISSN: 0798-1759


Children lack an understanding of and connectedness to food and agriculture, while policies are calling for more emphasis on food and nutrition at school. As a result, foodscapes at school are increasingly the focus of public policy. More initiatives are targeting food literacy of young people and their ability to understand the food system. Thus, efforts are made to promote food literacy through strengthening of farm–school links. The case-study research from Denmark investigates existing cooperation arrangements in farm–school collaboration and the underlying motivation of the farmers and teachers. Findings show distinct differences in motivation. Farmers want to create transparency in their production, ensure support for the agricultural profession or promote food and agricultural literacy. The idealistic motivation of teaching children about food and agriculture weighs higher than economic incentives. Teachers display academic motives for engaging in farm visits, but also a broader focus on shaping children’s world views, connectedness to food and nature and fostering life skills. The farm can be an important setting for promoting food, agricultural and ecological literacy. We propose more generic collaboration models of farm–school collaboration to characterize the field: from short-term, informal cooperation involving just a farmer and a teacher to longer-term and closer collaboration involving several teachers, farms, schools or other stakeholders from a foodscapes approach. These characterizations of farm–school collaboration can contribute towards future research of farm–school programmes. The study applies a foodscapes approach and in doing so uncovers learning opportunities in the foodscapes in and outside the school, which goes beyond eating. This adds to a broader understanding of school foodscapes.

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