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Fieldwork at an Organic Farm

Cultivating Intimacy with the Natural World: College Students’ Care, Connection, and Regeneration in an Agriculture-focused Humanities Course

By Joan Armon and Chara Armon

To address solutions to environmental degradation in an authentic context, this qualitative research study examines college students’ responses to outdoor fieldwork in an agriculture-focused humanities course. Students’ responses to fieldwork on organic farms generated three integrated themes. Active care encompasses students’ actions of care for plants, people, and animals; intimate connection includes feelings of kinship with people, plants, land, farmer networks, and love of farming. Of particular interest is the third theme of regeneration, related to actions ensuring flourishing of future generations of humans and the natural world. The study raises questions about the need for significant curricular change in higher education to prepare students to respond effectively to climate unpredictabilities and environmental degradation.

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