Education & Food Sovereignty, Barcelona

Hello! Just quickly before bed to say it was a really interesting congress - with some great speakers. I heard Jeromo from Amayuelas speak about the rural university of Paolo Freire and saw a video about Amayuelas, and am now really excited about visiting them as they look amazing and I think we have loads to learn from them. Amayuelas is a rural centre, who grow organic crops, make bread, save seeds from all over Spain in a dove loft and hold loads of interesting talks and workshops that people come to from all over Spain and also from the local community - they seem to be really well integrated with the local village and very supported).

I also heard another speaker from the rural universities of Paulo Freire (there are 13 of them around and about in Spain and the different states). He talked about the main characteristics of transformative education (not sure I got them all, but will find out more as made me think it might be an interesting thing to look more into for training more new farmers in the UK and maybe to have a Paulo Freire University at the Kindling farm....):

  • Development of motivation and will (voluntad)
  • The importance of starting to educate people from where they are at to motivate them - everyone is an expert (of their own lives) and education should never start from level zero
  • Community - but not localism in a negative facist way! - it is important to recognise that variety is important - look at eco-systems and biodiversity!
  • The importance of learning while working and working while learning - courses shouldn't be rigid - we should break the cages of the definition of education (sounds a bit hippyish but he wasn't a hippy at all!).
  • That we learn better in a team/group - without dialogue there is no education
  • Food Sovereignty isn't just about equality - it is about recognising the differences between people and their situations
  • Training is not only about learning techniques but is about learning about becoming citizens, he talked about everyone's right to feel useful
  • The importance of creativity and a sense of humour - of making courses/learning more dynamic through creativity and humour. He gave the example of children of 4 being taught english (in Spain) and said they need english for competition, but they need to learn how to play - to be creative, learn about limits and humour to be able to work collectively. He also talked about the crisis being not just ecological but 'ego-logical' and us needing to learn in a way that stops us wanting more and more.
  • The final motivation was about the importance of learning being a process that has a sense to it and where you see positive results.

He talked about transformative education being participative and when asked how university professors could make their classes more participative with so many students he basically said they couldn't - transformative education isn't about techniques and methods it's a strategy (not possible in big institutions - we need to break out of those places).

Ok have to sleep now - will write more soon - also Educacion Sin Fronteras is writing up the conclusions of the whole thing, so when that's done I'll try and summarise some interesting points in English (to make sure I got them right as sadly I have a raging cold and would have found english difficult to understand at some moments!).

I hope all's going well in sunny Manchester (and where ever else you may be) - good luck with FeedingManchester at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival - I hope it goes well! xx

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