Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Alison Blay-Palmer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


While the literature on food has somewhat addressed rudimentary food skills and their importance in the creation and maintenance of a healthy population, there remains a serious lack of research into the importance of food and agricultural skills and knowledge transference to children, especially given the rise in diet-related illnesses. This study focuses on the perceived importance of food and agricultural education initiatives, as well as the opportunities and barriers that exist within the elementary school classroom to incorporate food and agricultural topics, in the context of southern Ontario, specifically Wellington County. Drawing on Wilkin's concept of ‘food citizenship’ as a desirable end goal of alternative food movements, food and agricultural education presence in the curriculum is researched for its potential contribution to healthy, active communities.

This study highlights experiences and insights through key informant interviews with teachers, parents, Upper Grand District School Board employees, nutritionists, and people involved in relevant community organizations, to determine the current role that formal secondary-level public educational institutions, and the educators within them, play in the dissemination of food and agricultural knowledge and skill. More specifically, the questions asked focus on what opportunities exist for teachers to enable and assist their students in becoming food citizens, and specifically: in what ways does the provincial curriculum as it currently exists, lend support to teachers, who can then enable students to become food citizens? And perhaps most importantly, do food skills and knowledge contribute to the holistic development of young people?

This study uses a qualitative approach, through the use of key informant interviews and curriculum analysis. Research findings indicate that food and agricultural education is seen as important to respondents, and that there are a number of complex opportunities for and barriers to including these topics in classrooms and encouraging greater food citizenship in young people.

Convocation Year