Social Innovation

There has been a trend over the last few centuries that has seen the human being removed more and more from the agricultural realm. Human labour has been replaced by mechanisation and the exodus of humans from agricultural environments toward urban habitation and employment has unfolded on a vast scale. Food and food production are often defined and designed on the model of industrial production and the factory as guiding metaphor.
In many parts of the world this social change has led to a very few people farming or managing land on behalf of the vast majority who have no contact with agricultural activities.
But agriculture has, historically, been about much more than the sheer pragmatics of food production. Culture and community once grew around the agricultural cycle of the seasons and festivals, markets, and fairs were multi-generational events that contributed to the life of the land and the people connected to the land. The removal of human culture and community from agricultural environments (and vice versa) is a complex set of events that has had deep implications – for both agriculture and culture.
In this course we wish to encourage research and study into aspects of culture, community and consciousness that are intertwined with land stewardship. We want to foster social innovation along with agroecology and re-engage with acknowledging the mutual benefit of human development in the context of agroecological initiatives and contexts.
These research areas may include, but are not limited to;
• holistic science and interdisciplinary approaches to science
• Human development in the context of land stewardship – education, care, individual and community empowerment
• community supported agricultural initiatives
• innovation in social financing of food production, distribution, access to land
• new approaches to understanding living organisms and living systems