Walking the Talk

Use the Facilitator’s guides collectively, critically, creatively

Stop. Breathe. Think. Digest. Connect. Talk. Act.

We live in a culture where many of us browse and zap our electronic devices from one story or image to another, leaving us isolated and our thoughts fragmented. This is not how we imagine the Earth to Tables Legacies educational package to be used. We have created Facilitator’s Guides for all of the videos and photo essays precisely to encourage critical, collective, and creative engagement with the stories and issues they raise. 

Though the guides can be used individually to help a reader or viewer engage more consciously with the videos or photo essays, they are perhaps most helpful for a teacher or workshop facilitator. The guides are inserted into each photo essay and video, but can also be downloaded from the website.

The guides all begin with a list of terms or themes that appear in the specific video or photo essay. We do not offer definitions for these terms. Rather you may choose to explore, discuss, or interpret them in a group.

The Facilitator’s Guide template is then divided into three sections:

Digging In

Engage questions and activities
Consider individual and collective actions

The guides all begin with a list of terms or themes that appear in the specific video or photo essay. We do not offer definitions for these terms. Rather you may choose to explore, discuss, or interpret them in a group.

Generic Decoding Questions

These questions can be used to get groups to connect what they see and hear in the videos and photo essays with their own lives, both individually and collectively. They are based on a process developed by internationally known Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, who engaged literacy students in ‘decoding’ images through a process that begins with description, makes both personal and collective connections, and hopefully moves into strategizing for action on relevant issues that arrive from the discussion.

Specific Questions

In this section, we offer some questions that can both test the reader’s or viewer’s understanding and encourage a critical discussion of issues raised by the stories of Legacies partners. In some cases, we’ve extracted quotes from the videos and photo essays to encourage a deeper reading of the issues they raise.

Hands-On Activities

Not all of the themes of the Legacies material lend themselves to hands-on activities. But in those that do (such as The Soil is Alive video), we encourage a multi-sensory engagement that deepens the learning. Creative facilitators may develop experiential learning activities that fit the particular context and give a group a chance to move from idea to practice.

Intergenerational and Intercultural Dialogue

The Earth to Tables Legacies exchange was consciously constructed to encourage conversations across generations and cultures. In many cases, the videos or photo essays themselves are examples of such a dialogue. For example, in “The Soil is Alive” video, Canadian organic farmer Dianne Kretschmar reconnects with younger Mexican agronomist Fernando Garcia, around their common analyses of the importance of the soil. In the photo essay “Mother’s Milk: The Original Food”, we have juxtaposed the stories of five different breastfeeding women in the project, revealing differences of age, culture, class, Indigeneity and geographical location. Another way we encourage dialogue across differences is through the commentaries that academics or activists outside the project have made in response to specific videos and photo essays.

In the guide, we have highlighted the border-crossing conversations of Legacies participants and raised some questions about the differences they reflect. Our hope is that viewers and readers will not only consider the differences reflected in the Legacies material, but will engage people of different ages and cultures in their discussion of the same material in their own contexts.

Individual and Collective Action

Action is the operative word here. Central to the popular education approach we are advocating through the Legacies project is the movement from discussion to action. In this section, we encourage viewers and readers to consider the relevance of the conversation to their daily lives and practices. These may include small steps in one’s habits or becoming involved in group or organizational initiatives toward food justice and food sovereignty. If the guide is used with an organization that is directly invested in the issue, the Legacies material can be a catalyst for strategic planning for collective action.

Continuing the Conversation

Read commentaries of activists and academics

The Legacies exchange involved a small group of people, connected through mainly personal relationships. Recognizing the limitation of representation, we decided to broaden the conversation and bring in other voices. We asked activists and academics who had rich experience and expertise in the themes of the videos and photo essays to offer commentary on them. Coming from both Indigenous and settler communities in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, these commentators bring a rich depth to the conversation, connecting to the Legacies storytellers and raising new questions. They can be discussed, and can encourage readers and viewers to add their own commentary – to continue the conversation.

Digging Deeper

Explore books, websites, and organizations

We recognize that our material is limited by our small group and their stories, which are not definitive statements but rather catalysts to get individuals and groups thinking. They can be jumping off points for further research, so we have included some of the more comprehensive resources that we have uncovered. When testing the material with a university class, students added to this list, and we hope you will do the same.

Videos and websites

Many others are making videos like ours and organizations offer websites that are filled with useful articles, reports, images and contacts.

Books and articles

We include specific articles and books that affirm, deepen, broaden and even challenge the ideas within the Legacies material.

Organizations

There are local, regional, national, and global organizations working on the issues raised within the Legacies stories. This is not an exhaustive list, and favours the Canadian context, so viewers and readers in the U.S. and Latin American context will need to identify the groups that are most engaged in food sovereignty and food justice issues in their areas. Not only name them, but contact them, check out their activities, and find ways to get involved.