UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Identifying critical knowledge, skills and teaching methods for training new farmers in alternative agricultural practices through a DACUM framework Clements, Sarah Patricia


Majority of Canadian farmers are approaching retirement age with the average age of farm operators being 55 years (Statistics Canada, 2017a). Concomitantly, the dominant global- industrial agricultural model they are predominantly versed and engaged in threatens the sustainability of our food system via extensive detrimental environmental, economic and social impacts. ‘Alternative agriculture’ offers means of food production that protects or enhances natural resources and ecosystems, imbues climate resiliency, enhances local-regional food security and economies, and can enhance social equity. The transition to alternative agriculture, will require more farmers in absolute terms, and they must be trained in alternative (to the industrial model) farming practices. The objective of this study was to develop a curricular and pedagogical framework to support the training of new alternative agriculture farmers in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada. A modified Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) process was used to identify the core duties, tasks and associated instructional techniques for the occupation of alternative farm operator in BC. Study results include a comprehensive DACUM chart describing the (15) duties and (213) tasks associated with the occupation of alternative farm operator in BC; a list of knowledge, skills and behaviours/attitudes associated with the occupation and detailed instructional techniques that describe effective methods for training new-entrants. The results of this study can guide and support existing and emergent alternative farmer training initiatives by providing a comprehensive framework for consistent curricula and program development and delivery grounded in the realities of alternative farming in the province.

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