Michigan 4-H Global Scholars Land-Based Learning Project to connect students from Michigan and Honduras while addressing global challenges

The project will engage students in investigating their connection to local farms and food in relation to students in another country, resulting in student-voiced recommendations for more sustainable and resilient local and global food systems.

A pair of hands holding the globe.
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash.

Beginning in January 2023, high school students from Marquette Alternative High School in Marquette, Michigan, will work collaboratively with students from Alison Bixby Stone School at Zamorano University in Honduras. Over the course of several months, the students will explore and implement solutions to agriculture, food and natural resource challenges in their schools and communities.

Students participating in the project will identify and address a food, agriculture or natural resources sustainability issue that is impacting communities in Michigan and Honduras. Teachers at both programming sites will engage students in an educational experience around the opportunity or challenge, with the support of educators from Michigan State University Extension.

The project will be based on land-based learning, youth leadership, intercultural engagement and education for sustainable development. Students will discuss and select an intervention to respond to the food, agriculture or natural resource challenge they identify, implement their intervention with a goal of enhancing sustainability, and then evaluate the impact of their intervention. The project will be structured around land-based learning, an educational approach which has been developed by MSU faculty “in which learners collaborate with community members to implement place-based interventions within agricultural systems to increase the sustainability of their community.”

Students in Michigan and Honduras will work together in a collaborative, interconnected manner on their local projects, sharing updates and providing questions, suggestions and feedback for the other site through a collaborative online communication framework. Students in Michigan and our partner country classroom will create final digital products which will include text, audio, video, images, animations, or a combination of these media types, as scholarly work. The work will be presented at the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute, to be held virtually and in-person on the campus of MSU in East Lansing, Michigan, on May, 11 2023.

The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is a one-day event coordinated by Michigan 4-H, MSU and the World Food Prize Foundation where youth:

  • Present research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with MSU faculty, staff, students, peers and other experts.
  • Connect with other student leaders to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships.
  • Interact with global leaders in science, agriculture, industry and policy.
  • Take part in educational sessions to explore current research and issues in food, agriculture, natural resources, international development and life sciences.
  • Meet innovative professionals, researchers, professors and college students working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security in Michigan and around the world.

The intended learning outcomes for the Global Scholars Land-Based Learning Project are to:

  • Increase youth participants' systems thinking, problem-solving skills, collaboration abilities, leadership skills and interest in sustainability and agriculture, food and natural resources at both the local and global levels of agricultural systems and food systems.
  • Increase youth participants' understanding of the connection between agriculture, food and natural resources-based interventions to address challenges with a focus on sustainability-based solutions and global efforts to enhance sustainability related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Increase youth participants' ability to engage in cross-cultural collaboration with the aim of advancing solutions to both local and global sustainability challenges related to agriculture, food and natural resources.

Funding to support the Global Scholars Land-Based Learning project is being provided by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU. The Global Scholars Land-Based Learning Project is being directed by MSU Extension Educators Abbey Palmer (palmerab@msu.edu) and Brian Wibby (wibby@msu.edu), with support from the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan.

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