Participatory, transdisciplinary and action research are internationally recognized as pillars of knowledge production for agroecology and food sovereignty. These approaches are also complex and unorthodox, requiring a careful and intentional cultivation of a researcher’s commitments, skill, and competencies.

Prerequisite: A solid understanding of the practice and principles or agroecology and food sovereignty, acquired through formal study, life experience or both. Please contact the instructor ( to discuss prior to registering.


  • Fall 2024 Semester: August 26 – December 6
  • Meets online. Days/times TBD.

This course will help students rise to the challenge and examine how the integration of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and transdisciplinary approaches can deepen our collective understanding of complex problems.

Students will build upon foundational courses in agroecological theory and practice, and learn how to apply a transdisciplinary PAR approach to topics in agri-food system studies and action.

The course will allow students the opportunity to examine examples of agroecological PAR projects, draw upon lessons learned, and find inspiration.

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of PAR and transdisciplinary approaches, and how they are distinct from other research and action approaches.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of how knowledge is situated, gendered, racialized, colonial and how it has contributed to social injustice and oppression.
  • Consider how systems, structures, and power dynamics influence research processes.
  • Explore how PAR and transdisciplinary approaches can be applied in agroecology, including through the examination of inspirational case studies. ·

The Participatory Action Research and Transdisciplinary Agroecology course is taught by Colin Anderson, Ph.D. He is an Associate Research Professor and Research Director of the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), a community of practice housed in UVM’s Department of Plant and Soil Science.