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A New Program for Education in Small to Medium Scale Northern Agriculture
Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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Very little of the agricultural education currently available in Canada is aimed at meeting the needs of either new or established small or medium scale farmers working in more northern, and marginal, agricultural areas of the country. Further, areas with this type of farming are widely distributed across Canada, spreading thousands of kilometers from the southern Yukon, in the west, to the Labrador in the east, and from southern Northwest Territories, in the north, to the Thunder Bay area in the south. None of these areas is large enough, in itself, to support an agricultural educational institution, and the distances between areas, along with different area priorities, have made collaboration difficult, thus far. In addition, extension services in these areas have been reduced or eliminated. To begin to address this gap in opportunities to study small-scale and northern agriculture, we have designed and implemented a full-credit, multi-pedagogical course involving a fourweek field trip, independent study, and an applied service-learning project. this paper highlights preliminary results of a pilot run of this course, which provides a group of 12 Canadian university students an opportunity to examine models of successful small-scale agriculture in northern Canada, Iceland, Estonia, Finland, and Norway. It is our intention that this course will develop into a larger distance education and student exchange program that will facilitate opportunities for collaboration between students, faculty, and community members in northern Canada and northern Europe to study and address issues related to small and medium scale agriculture in northern regions.

Author(s): Margaret Johnston, Julie Rosenthal and William Wilson
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