SAEA defines sustainable agriculture as food and agricultural systems that are environmentally sound, economically viable, socially responsible, non-exploitative, humane, and that serve as a foundation for future generations.
- The SAEA champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices.
- The SAEA exists to serve and connect educators, teachers, students, staff, and administrators who focus on the teaching and learning of sustainable agriculture at the adult level.
- Our activities include hosting participatory conferences, collecting sustainable agriculture educational program listings, and developing a digital curriculum library.
- We are driven by volunteers who firmly believe in sustainable agriculture – for now and into the future.
A brief look back in time takes us to 2002, when a group called the College Farms Sustainable Agriculture Educators Working Group, with the support of the Kellogg-funded California Food and Fiber Futures (CF3) project, started working on a number of projects and holding workshops at the annual Ecological Farming Conferences in California.
The idea of a multi-day event that served the broader sustainable agriculture education community was proposed at the 2005 meeting. Surveys conducted at US institutions revealed the enthusiasm and support for a national sustainable agriculture education conference to serve the further development of experiential sustainable agriculture education and college farms.
The confidence and effort of these group resulted in the first annual conference, a successful 100% interactive conference held in January 2006 in Pacific Grove, California. Attendance exceeded 140 people, including students, faculty, staff and administrators from over 50 colleges and universities, and 15 statewide and national sustainable agriculture organizations.
Based on post-conference evaluations, the 2006 conference was a great success, exceeding expectations in both attendance and active participation. One of the main outcomes was the launching of a professional association for the advancement of sustainable agriculturand agroecology in education.
To start, an Implementation Sub-Committee (ISC) was formed to examine the viability of, and, as appropriate, establish, such an organization. The ISC voted to form the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) and from that moment on, members worked to initiate and organize both the administrative elements of SAEA and the 2007 SAEA conference. Hence, the launching of a professional association for the advancement of sustainable agriculture and agroecology in education, the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association, was the direct, concrete outcome of that 2006 first annual conference.
The next key step was the 2007 SAEA conference in Ithaca, NY with the support of Cornell University, the Pennsylvania State University and the Rodale Institute. The conference brought more than 200 participants to share their experiences in teaching and to exchange ideas on the future of sustainable agriculture education.
A key outcome was a structural organization for SAEA and the delegation of responsibilities to volunteers and specific committees. The commitment to forming the organization was solidified and the ball was rolling. The efforts of the committees and leadership of the temporary steering committee was central to the approval of the bylaws and to obtaining official 501(c)(3) status. From here on, we invite you to continue making this a reality by joining this adventure as a member, volunteer, and participant of the next conference.
The Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) promotes and supports the development, application, research, and exchange of best teaching and learning practices in sustainable agriculture education and curricula through communication, training, development, and collaborative activities for teachers and learners. The Association is organized exclusively for education purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The goals of the Association are as follows:
- Promote and advocate the establishment of sustainable agriculture education programs.
- Promote the collaborative development and exchange of curricula, best educational and experiential learning practices, and research related to the teaching and learning of sustainable agriculture.
- Provide public forums for addressing issues in sustainable agriculture education teaching and learning.
- Serve as a vibrant network for individuals and organizations involved in sustainable agriculture education.
- Engage in activities to aid the professional development of sustainable agriculture educators and students.
- Serve as an advocate for sustainable agriculture in other contexts and in collaboration with other organizations relevant to sustainable agriculture education.
- Obtain public and private funds to collaboratively develop and exchange sustainable agriculture education and curricula at all educational levels and with the general public.
- Attract talented, bright individuals to teach and work in the field of sustainable agriculture.
- Contribute to the growth of sustainable agriculture in the U.S. and abroad (within grassroots and educational institutions, farms, businesses etc.).
The functions of the Association are as follows:
- Provide opportunities (workshops, symposia, conferences, short courses, etc.) to learn about and develop sustainable agriculture education programs.
- Maintain a bibliography and/or library of sustainable agriculture education curriculum materials.
- Publish a newsletter to share information about sustainable agricultural education information.
- Host national conferences to provide forums for professional development, networking, advocacy activities and publishing of proceedings.
- Publish a series, journal or other publication, independently or with other organizations, to publicize scholarly research on sustainable agriculture education.
- Advocate for resources to promote sustainable agriculture education.
- Communicate with high school and college students about the opportunities within sustainable agriculture education.
- Maintain an organizational web site for communication and exchange of sustainable agriculture education information.
SAEA is excited to have the Sustainable Agriculture Teaching Resources Library now open and available to the public! CLICK HERE to go to the resource library and view the material we have available. We are in the beginning stages of this process and hope to have new updated materials submitted at the 2016 SAEA Conference. This Library serves educators, farmers, students, staff, and administrators who focus on the teaching and learning of sustainable agriculture at the adult and higher education levels by providing an open forum for sharing teaching resources. The SAEA Teaching Resources Library contains; syllabi, degree program documentation, lab and field exercises, photos, videos, and assignments. The library will also serves as a repository for SAEA conference proceedings. An outcome of the 2007 SAEA conference, the Library has received generous support from the Kellogg Foundation, The Alfred R. Mann Library at Cornell University and the National Agricultural Library.