Education

Difference between urban and rural agricultural and
ecology education projects

Organizing not only the restoration of cultural practices but also the ecology of a home watershed is much easier in a rural community.

Why?
The memory of a way-of-life linked to the seasons is still alive, if faltering, in most rural communities: canning, hunting, fishing, planting and harvesting, spinning and weaving are all within recent memory and often practice of families and communities in rural areas.

Many still heat with wood, tap maple syrup in the Hunger Moon, know where to buy dairy, meat and vegetables grown locally, learn as children how to fish, hunt and trap according to the season, and with respect, and teach their children where and how to forage for wild foods and medicines.

Cross cultural fertilization

What are the benefits that can be carried from rural areas to urban and vice versa? in these days of a global cultural exchange via the internet, what advantages can the urban perspective bring to the rural and the rural to the urban?

Urban Rural
More diversity Closer to intact food and natural sources
Same music and dress Same music and dress
Attitudes toward cooking at home Attitudes toward cooking at home
Less contact with nature More contact with nature
Different sense of community Extended families
Exposure to different pollutants: Exposure to different pollutants:
      noise, light, exhaust       farm chemicals
Street skills: tolerance Rural skills like fishing & hunting
Anxieties, sharpness Relaxation, laidback

Transformative effect of Agriculture and ecology on young people: Roots of Project GROW

The Penn-York Valley (referred to locally as The Valley) is a group of communities that straddles the New York and Pennsylvania border. It includes the villages and boroughs of: Waverly, Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.
The Penn-York Valley (referred to locally as The Valley) is a group of communities that straddles the New York and Pennsylvania border. It includes the villages and boroughs of: Waverly, Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.

Qualitative research with thought leaders in the Valley in 2008 revealed a strong shared belief that creating a track in agricultural education for young people would provide those not going on to college and/or leaving the Valley for other places, with an honorable career or at least skills to continue to live in place with their extended family and community.

Similar groups in proximate cities like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Rochester find that this work in the outdoors, either growing food or restoring watersheds, results in a 95% plus rate of graduating from high school, compared to a national average of 40-60%. These quantitative data show the transformative effect of this work on young people, including so-called “at-risk youth.” A long term study should be funded to demonstrate this transformative effect after these youngsters have become adults.

In the five years after being founded, Project GROW had developed strong alliances with governments, institutions and families in the Valley, along with multiple teaching gardens on the ground. As of 2014, two summers of Youth Training initiative were completed, in partnership with local foundations, social service agencies, school systems and churches, along with supporters of Project GROW. PG’s strong board of directors and supporters feel confident about their founder’s retirement in 2014 and are continuing strong with the program.

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