Social Learning and Paulo Freire Concepts for Understanding Food Security Cases in Brazil




Bonatti, Michelle
Borba, Juliano
Löhr, Katharina
Tremblay, Crystal
Sieber, Stefan

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Food insecurity is a wicked, complex, and critical problem. Although evidence supporting a wide range of assertions regarding the outcomes of social learning is still being investigated, its potential to improve food security challenges is growing. Nonetheless, more work is needed to understand when and how social learning-oriented approaches are effective in food security situations. We address this gap by investigating how elements of social learning and Freire’s key concepts are exemplified in existing real-world experiences of food security in rural communities. The case studies in Brazil, Community Seed Banks in Paraíba State, in the northeast and Biodiversity Kit in Guaraciaba, Santa Catarina State, in the south, are examples of small farmers facing and overcoming their limit-situation of food insecurity through celebrating, planting, and saving traditional seeds (landraces). A mixed-methods approach was applied based on semi-structured interviews and a literature review. The key findings show that local initiatives based on the interconnections of social learning and Freire´s concepts have improved food security in two cases. The practice of landrace rescue as a food security strategy is strengthened through a culture of closeness and solidarity, through values that are celebrated in the festivities, community meetings, and other exchanges of experiences. Applications of our conceptual framework in operational interventions show clear potential for generating the necessary changes for a more sustainable world, specifically in food security and sovereignty projects, as described in the cases studies.



learning systems, Paulo Freire, governance, sustainable land use


Bonatti, M., Borba, J., Löhr, K., Tremblay, C., & Sieber, S. (2021). Social Learning and Paulo Freire Concepts for Understanding Food Security Cases in Brazil. Agriculture, 11(9), 1-11.