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DOES AGRITOURISM INCREASE CHILDREN’S AGRICULTURAL LITERACY? PRELIMINARY INSIGHTS

Abstract
We investigated the pedagogical potential of agritourism by measuring its influence on agricultural literacy among 9-13-year-old children in North Carolina (USA). Using a pre-post quasi-experimental design, we assessed the children’s change of agricultural knowledge after engaging in an agritourism experience across three treatments: children visiting farms with their family (Family; n = 191), children visiting farms with their teacher in school field trips (School; n = 95), and virtual farm experiences with their teachers (Virtual; n = 141). Results indicate an increase in agricultural knowledge in all six topics assessed after each type of agritourism experience, although the increase was only statistically significant in three knowledge items; comparison across treatments showed comparable educational gains. This study results indicate that agritourism can be a space where children can acquire first-hand knowledge about the farm’s connection to social, economic, and ecological systems and foster a food system bond.
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