Increasing the Sustainable Production and Access of Fresh Produce in Urban Areas of NW Indiana

Progress report for LNC18-399

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2018: $199,676.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Purdue University
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Tamara Benjamin
Purdue University
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Project Information

Summary:

Increasing the Sustainable Production and Access of Fresh Produce in Urban Areas of NW Indiana
The act of growing and increasing the availability of fresh produce in an urban setting has recently become an important issue. As large grocery stores have moved out of urban areas, fresh produce availability has become more challenging and many vacant lots left behind are viewed as potential food production sites. As a result, urban agriculture has increased in importance due to the impacts on accessibility and affordability of fresh produce, the local population’s health, food equity, economic development, and job creation. In many urban communities, particularly densely populated neighborhoods, there is an increasing demand for sustainable fresh produce that is more accessible. Although there is mounting pressure for urban farmers to produce more food, there is a general lack of scientifically based information on the most efficient and effective ways to meet this demand. As such, there is a gaping need to train urban farmers in sustainable agriculture practices, form peer-to­peer networks to share newly acquired knowledge and build marketing capacity within urban neighborhoods throughout the US to be able to produce and sell the fruits and vegetables that are needed.
In the city of Gary, in Northwest Indiana, a multi-stakeholder group, The Gary Food Council, was recently formed to focus on how the local food supply chain must function sustainably to increase access to fresh food for the city population. Within the city, there are only four large grocery stores that sell fresh produce for more than 75,000 people. In order to viably produce enough fresh fruits and vegetables in this urban area, it is important to provide programs to their urban farmers that allow them to gain the skills needed to be successful. This project will evaluate experiential learning activities to determine how effective they are for increasing production and knowledge gained by urban farmers in Gary. Activities include support for an urban agriculture certificate program, a tool sharing initiative for small-scale diversified farmers, the formation of a peer-to-peer networking group, and the development of a validated internship program with trained mentors. Trained urban farmers will also be linked with consumers to sell their local produce through community stores, markets, grocers, restaurants, institutions, and food banks. By working on both the supply and demand sides of the equation, urban farmers will be able to sustainably produce and market their fresh produce.

Project Objectives:

The overall purpose is to evaluate experiential learning activities created to support urban farmers be successful at growing fresh produce in Northwest Indiana. Specifically, we will measure 1) knowledge, skills, and behavior gained by participants to create improved farming systems, 2) retention and utilization of knowledge and skills that improve efficiency, 3) influence of attitudes and engagement of peer to peer network on innovation on small-scale farming systems, 4) knowledge and skills gained by network participants to transform knowledge and innovation, 5) collaboration and engagement to develop the internship program, 6) knowledge, skills, and engagement of tool sharing program.

Introduction:

In Indiana as well as across the country, urban agriculture is flourishing. A source of food production in the urban setting is helping to meet growing demand for local food, which has been increasing at all points in the supply chain, including direct consumer linkages up through institutional levels. In addition to producing food, urban agriculture generates many other sustainable benefits which include:

  • improving food access to food insecure areas;
  • increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and more healthful food consumption overall;
  • reducing blight in neighborhoods;
  • catalyzing youth development opportunities;
  • creating job and training opportunities;
  • and incubating small business endeavors among many other benefits

The City of Gary, located in Lake County in the Northwest corner of Indiana, is a prime example of an urban area that is striving to utilize urban farming as a means to tackle many challenging social, environmental, and economic issues. The median income in Gary is $28,895, a little more than half of the median income found in the rest of Lake County ($50,905). There are only four grocery stores that sell fresh produce for the 76,424 people living in the city. There is no major chain grocer within the community and the limited food outlets are predominantly convenience stores and fast food chains. Residents must travel by personal vehicles or rely on public transit to commute miles outside Gary to purchase groceries. Although there is demand for fresh fruits and vegetables and seemingly space for urban farming to occur, there are currently less than ten urban farms functioning in the city. Lack of educational opportunities, hands-on experiences, and urban farmer networking have all been listed as programs that need to be developed in the community to increase production. One of the city’s greatest challenges is access to fresh healthy food for local residents. As such, one of their goals has focused on increasing urban farmers’ capacities to maximize fresh fruits and vegetable production. Within its economic and urban revitalization strategy, Gary has the potential to produce local foods to support the community, but there is a need to establish urban agriculture programs that will help this sector grow effectively in order to engage everyone.

At the heart of Gary’s vision is the desire to scale up urban agriculture to improve access to healthy, local foods and to spur economic development. By increasing the sustainable production of locally grown fresh produce this project seeks to help meet that vision. Increasing opportunities for effective training, learning and networking activities – such as (1) an urban agriculture certificate program, (2) the establishment of a validated internship system, (3) tool and equipment sharing, and (4) network opportunities for urban farmers – will help growers to produce fresh produce more efficiently. By working with local stakeholders, urban farmers will be able to increase the supply of fresh produce in the community.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Kathryn Orvis (Educator)
  • Jose Valtierra (Educator)
  • Janet Reed (Educator)
  • Marty Henderson
  • Theoneste Nzaranyimana , Jr
  • Brenda Scott - Henry
  • Curtis Whittaker
  • Freida Graves
  • Alma White
  • Lynda Bodie-Fernandez (Educator)
  • Nathan Shoaf (Educator)

Research

Hypothesis:

The Gary SARE project seeks to increase opportunities for effective training, learning and networking activities in the context of urban agriculture.  This will be accomplished through establishing a leadership team and advisory committee to administer the project, hosting networking events, developing and delivering an Urban Agriculture certificate program, and building a tool share program.

Materials and methods:

2019 

Activities:  The project team held a kick off meeting in November 2018. Subsequent meetings were held the first Friday of every month from January – June, 2019 in Gary. In August a facilitated discussion was held between all interested parties to work out communication issues and best management practices for the project. Based on the results of the facilitated discussion, a small leadership team was established and have been meeting monthly. The entire project team now meets once every 3-4 months to catch everyone up to speed on what is going on. Also a number of sub-committees were established, that were formed around specific tasks, and have been meeting monthly during year 1. The sub-committees include 1) Education and Internship, 2) Networking Activities, 3) Tool Sharing, and 4) Marketing. Although, the marketing sub-committee has not yet met and will be folded into the networking activities. There are many other marketing programs going on in the region so we will be partnering with these stakeholders for the duration of the project.

During this first year we have hosted a number of networking events, facilitated the submission of a grant, held participant meetings, initiated a tool sharing program, and conducted field trips to conferences or farms.

Evaluation Methods:

Networking. For the purpose of measuring impact of the networking events, an online survey was developed and administered across the four events held in 2019. The survey was based upon an existing farm event survey, and adapted to fit the needs of the grant. Qualtrics® was utilized as the delivery system for the networking survey. Questions included information about future adoption of various skills or behaviors, such as starting an urban farm, applying knowledge to the management of an urban farm, as well as use of new network contacts to support urban farms. Sixteen unique responses were received.

Formative Evaluation of Year 1. For the purpose of evaluating the functioning of the leadership team, advisory committee, and participant sub-committees, a facilitated summit was held in the fourth quarter of year 1. A survey was developed to determine how the project was functioning. An external facilitator was utilized to allow the leadership team to participate in the summit and provide an unbiased leader for the meeting. Questions included satisfaction with communication and leadership methods, understanding of the overall goals of the project, as well as needs of the participants in the coming year. Eleven unique responses were recorded.

Urban Agriculture Certificate Program.  For the purpose of measuring knowledge gain, behavior modification, and impact, a pre-post overall survey and weekly surveys were developed to monitor student learning, content knowledge gained, self-efficacy of the students towards urban agriculture, and behavior intents.  Pre-survey will be administered prior to the start of the first session of the certificate program in 2020.  Weekly surveys, in the form of content quizzes, will be administered each week for the duration of the course.  Data is currently being collected from both of the instruments, and will be analyzed and reported as work is concluded.

Tool Sharing Program. Tools were purchased and a system for checking them out was established in the summer of 2019. An online evaluation survey was constructed to monitor use of tools and the usefulness of the tools to urban farmers. 

2020

Activities:  The project team and the leadership team both continued to meet regularly in 2020. Meetings were briefly suspended due to COVID19 however, virtual environment allowed the meetings to continue. The entire project team now meets once every 3-4 months to catch everyone up to speed on what is going on. Sub-committees established in Year 1, have been meeting regularly to sporadically in Year 2. The sub-committees include 1) Education and Internship, 2) Networking Activities, 3) Tool Sharing,

During the second year we have hosted one networking event, conducted the urban agriculture certificate program, and paused the implementation of the tool sharing program.

Evaluation Methods:

Networking. For the purpose of measuring impact of the networking events, an online survey was developed, however it was not administered in 2020 due to lack of activity because of COVID19.

Urban Agriculture Certificate Program.  For the purpose of measuring knowledge gain, behavior modification, and impact, a pre-post overall survey and weekly surveys were developed to monitor student learning, content knowledge gained, self-efficacy of the students towards urban agriculture, and behavior intents.  Pre-survey was administered prior to the start of the first session of the certificate program in 2020.  Weekly surveys, in the form of content quizzes, were administered each week for the duration of the course.  Post-survey was administered at the end of the program in May 2020. Data was collected from both of the instruments, and was analyzed and prepared for this report, a poster presentation and a manuscript.

Tool Sharing Program. Tools were purchased and a system for checking them out was established in the summer of 2019. In 2020 due to COVID19 the tool share program was paused.

 

Research results and discussion:

2019

Networking Activities (Farm Tours and Field Days). Results from the networking events show that participants felt the activities (see list of activities below in the project activities section) were worthwhile and they learned something from them. Results from the surveys are presented below.

After attending a tour or networking event attendees answered:

I got answers to my questions/concerns about urban farming today           100% (16/16) agree or strongly agree

I know more about some of the community benefits of urban farming       94% (15/16) agree or strongly agree

I know where I can go to get financial assistance with my farm                   7/16, 5 were did not apply

I know where I can go to get technical assistance with my farm                  87.5% 14/16 agree or strongly agree

I met others (at) that I can continue to communicate with about urban farming in the future      100% (16/16) said yes 

When asked if they learned any new urban agriculture concepts or methods, 100% of attendees said ‘yes’ (16/16). 

When asked if they would recommend this event or tour to a friend or colleague, 75% of attendees indicated 8/10 or 10/10 on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is yes and 1 is no.

Formative Evaluation of Year 1. Participants in the facilitated summit responded that they were able to identify what they felt was going well with the project. Communication was a significant focus of this evaluation to determine what forms were preferred, effectiveness between entities, and overall how communication was performing.  Email was determined to be the preferred method of communication. We also received responses that included ‘urban farming is being defined as it will benefit all residents’ and ‘helping community partners come together and start to learn who each other is, and learn from each other’. The table below shows effectiveness between grant entities (leadership team, committees, overall group). 

What aspects of the project could be improved regarding communication, noting our primary use of email for the committees, in addition to the whole (grant) group?

 

Response

 

Response

 

Response

Communication to or between

Great

 

Okay

 

Needs Improvement

a. to the whole group?

44.44%

 

44.44%

 

11.11%

b. in committees?

11.11%

 

77.78%

 

11.11%

c. from leadership team?

25.00%

 

62.50%

 

12.50%

d. between leadership team and committees?

25.00%

 

50.00%

 

25.00%

When the participants were asked to list at least one goal they wished to see accomplished in the next year of the project, several responses were received that included ‘certificate program up and running with people attending regularly’, ‘field trips to urban farms in other cities’, ‘improved participation of committee members in the project’. These goals are consistent with the overall goals and objectives of the grant project, which indicates good alignment of work proposed with work being conducted. We will continue to monitor our progress based on the leadership team’s work conducted and evaluations of activities that are developed and delivered.

Tool Sharing Program. Tools for the tool sharing program were purchased and delivered to Peace Garden and Farms. They will be administering the tool sharing program. We have also set up an online system to check out the tools and to keep track of where the tools are located. We did not have any users of the program in 2019 but will be working on better advertising and promoting the program in 2020. The tools also arrived fairly late to get them out for people when the season was beginning. We hope to rectify that problem for future years.

2020

Urban Agriculture Certificate Program

Results from the Urban Agriculture Certificate Program were overall positive and indicated participants gained knowledge, skills, and demonstrated impact on their urban farms.

Pre survey (n=18) and Post survey (N=13) show positive results for the urban agriculture certificate program as a whole.  Post program 67% of participants planned to become urban farmers after the certificate program, where in the pre-survey 55% indicated that were planning to become an urban farmer after the certificate program.

The post survey demonstrated impact on networking outcomes, five participants (N=5, 41.67%) responded that ”I have met many new people and feel my urban agriculture related connections have expanded significantly” and seven participants (N=7, 58.33%) responded that ”I have met some new people through this course, and I felt a slight expansion of their urban agriculture related connections”.  Participants also felt confident in accessing new urban agriculture related resources as a result of participating in the program (mean 8.67/10), and sharing new things with other or new farmers (8.33/10).

Participants indicated post program that they felt clear to very clear (mean 8.77/10) in their purpose in developing their urban farm or garden. They also had high confidence in beginning or further developing their urban farm or garden (mean 8.91/10), compared to pre-survey where clarity of purpose was neutral to very clear (mean 7.74.10) and confidence in beginning or further developing was neutral (mean 5.89/10).  Additionally, they were very confident post program in their ability to apply what they learned in the course to their own farm or garden (mean 9.0/10).

When asked to summarize the impact of the course on the development of their urban farm or garden several participants examples were:

  • “This course helped me develop a comprehensive approach to planning, planting, maintaining, and harvesting the produce of my urban farm/garden.”
  • “This course brought a portion an urban farming / gardening community together. Doing so allowed me and others to see where our local knowledge base is. As an example, I know who my local master gardeners, beekeepers, compost-er’s, and chicken farmers are.”
  • “Before I thought I was just one of a few interested in gardening, now I know there are many more and on a multitude of skill levels and goals.”

Participants interaction with organizations and their resources in the urban community of Gary pre-program were a mix of yes and no responses (5%-85% aware of organizations), where after the program, participants were 50-83% aware of those organizations.  For example, pre-program participants showed 52% awareness of Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and 47% of Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and post program awareness of IDEM rose to 75% and SWCD to 67%.

Gain in knowledge objectives can be demonstrated by 83% of post participants indicating that they learned new urban agriculture concepts or methods in the certificate program. And, 92% felt they received answers about farming through the certificate program. Finally, 75% strongly agreed or agreed that they knew where to get technical assistance with their farm, and 50% felt they knew where to get financial assistance with their farm.

 

Research conclusions:

2019

We do not have any research conclusions to present at this time.

2020

Results from the Urban Agriculture Certificate Program were overall positive and indicated participants gained knowledge, skills, and demonstrated impact on their urban farms. 

Participation Summary
27 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

2019

The educational approach taken in this project was focused on experiential learning, connecting farmers to other farmers and key stakeholders, and finding ways to present opportunities to an under-represented population. The project revolved around networking events, farm tours and field days to bring people from Gary to nearby urban farms or places that showed successful farming operations. Some farms were located in Gary to build networking connections and bus trips were taken to Cincinnati, Ohio, West Lafayette, and the Indiana Small Farm Conference in Danville, Indiana (see below for details). 

We also spent time restructuring the Urban Agriculture Certificate program that was developed for Indianapolis to meet the needs of Gary farmers. The first cohort of 30 urban farmers will start in January 2020 and will run for 12 weeks. Some of the participants will be selected to participate in the internship and mentoring program, while others will be chosen based on their need and desire to attend the Indiana Small Farm Conference. Future farm tours and field days will also be structured around the needs that are identified in this course to bring new knowledge and expertise to the community. The certificate program is the keystone of increasing productivity in the urban farms in Gary, as such, we will work towards bringing in speakers who can help lead the group in their efforts.

The tool sharing program has a two pronged approach, 1) providing access to tools for urban farmers and 2) teaching farmers how to use tools effectively in an urban farm. We are using the field days and farm tours as moments to teach farmers how to use and care for the tools that have been purchased with the program.

2020

In 2020 the educational approach taken in this project was focused on experiential learning, connecting farmers to other farmers and key stakeholders, and finding ways to present opportunities to an under-represented population. The project revolved around networking events, farm tours and field days to bring people from Gary to nearby urban farms or places that showed successful farming operations. Some farms were located in Gary to build networking connections and visits virtually to West Lafayette, and in person to the Indiana Small Farm Conference in Danville, Indiana. 

The Urban Agriculture Certificate program was developed and implemented to meet the needs of Gary farmers. The first cohort of 27 urban farmers started in January 2020 and were able to complete the sessions in May 2020. The certificate program is the keystone of increasing productivity in the urban farms in Gary, as such, speakers and experts who helped lead the group in their efforts were brought in to teach various sessions of the Urban Ag Certificate Program.

 

 

Project Activities

Indiana Small Farm Conference 2019
Cincinnati Field Trip
Tool Sharing Program
Gary Farm Tour
Purdue University Small Farm Field Day
Lanes End Farm Tour
Fall Farm Bash
Introduction to Grant Writing - Gary Urban Farmer's
Urban Farming Certificate Program
Using Urban farming approach to equip youth in entrepreneurship & increase supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in food desert community of Gary, Indiana.
Empowering engagement method and its role towards a sustainable urban agriculture program
Indiana Small Farm Conference 2020

Educational & Outreach Activities

60 Consultations
2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
9 On-farm demonstrations
7 Online trainings
7 Published press articles, newsletters
5 Tours
4 Webinars / talks / presentations
4 Workshop field days
5 Online Videos

Participation Summary

81 Farmers
25 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

2019

In addition to the items listed above, we will continue to deliver the educational and outreach components through a 12-week urban agriculture certificate course in early 2020. During 2019, we initiated the networking activities with a full schedule of farm visits, structured as learning opportunities, and undertook a series of networking events and activities for Gary and the farmers involved under the SARE grant. A spring 2020 kickoff for the tool share facility is being planned, which will include the establishment of a film library highlighting the usage of the available tools and the maintenance involved with the upkeep of the tools. Finally, we have been very involved in a collaborative venture with local farmers and the Legacy Foundation that is exploring, planning, and creating local farmer markets with the intent being that the various markets would become self-sustaining and begin to address the food desert issues found throughout the Gary community.

During outreach and scouting visits to various farms, we continue to build relationships using guided discovery to make the farmers aware of possible fixes and solutions available. For example, on one farm the concept and technique of staking or tomato clip trellising was introduced to the farmer to improve harvesting techniques. The use of this technique was further reinforced at a farm tour where the farmers saw an example of this technique in use. The farmer then applied the technique on their own farm shortly afterward. This educational approach was also used in helping local farmers learn more about weed suppression, pest control, trellising, and roto-tilling practices.

Program Promotion. On July 19, 2019, “Nuestra Comunidad NWI” (Our Northwest Indiana Community, a bilingual radio talk show which broadcasts in the Northwest Indiana area through WLTH 1379 AM interviewed our team about the urban farming grant funded by USDA SARE and promoted the 12-week urban agriculture certificate program scheduled to begin in January of 2020. The radio broadcast reaches over 1200 people.

On December 31, 2019, our team was asked to appear with radio program host Verlie Suggs on WJOB Radio 1230 AM and 104.7-FM, broadcasting out of Hammond, IN to talk about the grant activities.

In an effort to further publicize the SARE Grant and its activities a news release was formulated. The following article appeared in the City of Gary news releases, which covered Gary 411 Newspaper and The Times Newspaper, with a total circulation of 53,000.

News Release: Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative 

Something is growing in Gary. There is an exciting movement that is stirring in our communities.  You may have noticed a truck full of compost driving by, or a group of people going into a building with pads of papers in their hands and not coming out for hours. Maybe you saw a truckload of wood chips being dumped on a vacant lot and noticed many volunteers spreading them out. Or in some really weird cases, maybe you thought you heard a chicken?

Urban farming has been part of Gary for many years, despite the existence of food deserts. The availability of land has many community residents who are tired of waiting for someone to fix the issue taking action. As Pastor Curtis Whittaker of Faith Farms exclaimed, “Captain America or Wonder Women aren’t coming to fix this. It is up to us.”

In order to be a successful urban farmer, it is imperative to have a social network built for support, knowledge transfer opportunities and the development of innovation-driven practices.  Peer-to-peer relationship networks need to be established and maintained.  Opportunities to access necessary farming tools through a tool-sharing program are essential. And finally, a training program with experiential agricultural learning activities must be available.

Purdue Extension is working in partnership with the Department of Green Urbanism for the City of Gary and local stakeholders through the Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative to increase the sustainable production of fresh fruits and vegetables through proven urban farming practices.

The Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative will also reduce the capital overhead for urban farmers who are unable to purchase appropriate tools and equipment. The project intends to increase urban farmer’s skills, knowledge, and network capabilities to learn more efficient farming practices.

In an effort to promote the social and peer-to-peer networks, and to share and learn from other farmers, the Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative is offering four events during this “Summer of Learning”. The first event was the Gary Farm Tour/Get Together at the Stewart House Shelter on July 20th. The second event, Small Farm Education Field Day will take place at Purdue University in West Lafayette on August 1st.  September 13th, an event at Lanes End Farm in Lowell will highlight Compost/Food Safety procedures.   To wrap up our “Summer of Learning”, Gary’s own Johnny Washington’s Farm will host a BBQ provided by Big Daddy’s on October 5th beginning at 3 PM.

The Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative was created to allow for opportunities to support, learn from, and share experiences with each other.  A partnership with local stakeholders has been formed to work with local churches, grocers, stores, restaurants, institutions, and markets to ensure that fresh produce is available to people living in the diverse Gary neighborhoods.  A fresh produce marketing program has focused on increasing the visibility of the increased production and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. A farmer’s market type system will be scheduled at four different locations along established bus routes to allow for people to purchase produce while traveling from work to home. Other possibilities for increasing market access for fresh produce include a mobile market using a modified produce truck that serves as a mobile farmer’s market, which would also run along bus routes within the city. Plans are also being made to install coolers in convenience stores with fresh produce to increase the number of places where people can purchase fresh produce in the city.

The Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative is also developing an urban agriculture certificate program that will be targeted to urban growth areas and specifically designed for Gary and the surrounding community. The certificate program will begin in January 2020 and run for 12 weeks.  The coursework includes technical assistance from Purdue Extension educators and local farmers, hands-on experiential learning activities, and field trips to nearby farms to learn about successful practices in action.

Finally, the Gary Urban Farmer’s Initiative is in the design stages for an internship program that will allow for future urban farmer cohorts to increase their capacity to produce fresh fruits and vegetables from viable urban farms. Studies have shown that internship participants demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge gained and to solve problems through processes that were effectively learned through internship experiences. There is not a current internship program in Gary for urban farming, so the creation of the infrastructure needed to support an internship program is vital. The Initiative’s efforts will focus on training individuals to serve as qualified agricultural mentors who will be able to pass on knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices, marketing principles, and other informal knowledge that results in maintaining a successful urban farm. 

2020

Educational Outreach

In 2020, the Urban Agriculture Certificate Program was implemented serving 22 urban farmers or would-be farmers through both in-person and virtual sessions due to COVID19. Several participants were able to travel to the Indiana Small Farm Conference before the restrictions of COVID19 occurred. Four farmers attended from Gary and surrounding area. We initially planned several local and regional farm tours with students. These events were cancelled due to COVID19 restrictions, although several participants organized tours of their farms in small groups during April and May of 2020. 

We organized a virtual follow-up meeting with participants in the fall of 2020 to check-in on their progress and discuss future plans. Seven participants and three Extension staff members attended. 

Program Promotion

We created a program promotional flyer Urban Agriculture Flyer Gary 2021 (003) that was disseminated through the Gary, Indiana Food Council and through a Lake County Extension farmer email list. 

We also promoted the program through Purdue Extension’s Urban Agriculture program December newsletter with over 700 subscribers throughout Indiana: https://mailimages.purdue.edu/vo/?FileID=fea1e55d-f3dc-443b-a2a5-8926a84673a5&m=550303fe-b2bc-4cce-8a81-07fea93e784c&MailID=40609972&listid=122736&RecipientID=19959234490

Video Production

Because we had to pivot to virtual sessions, we used some of the funds to purchase film equipment to produce high quality videos that could be seen by our stakeholders. We mainly took videos of local farmers so that other farmers could learn from them directly. Equipment was used for:

Merrillville Farms https://youtu.be/c0MYQ6fs8MA 

Five Hands Farm: https://youtu.be/ilo8W9wh3Ek 

Damien Appel: https://youtu.be/TCpt_gxjnhw

These videos were used in the Urban Agriculture Certificate Program as well as the local Lake County Master Gardener program. Twenty nine people viewed them in the MG class and more viewed them online.

We also utilized videos produced from equipment purchased from Indiana SARE. 

Raised bed video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0EVuBIWp98&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Learning Outcomes

Key areas taught:
  • Rooftop gardening
  • Hoophouse construction
  • Planting schedules
  • Composting
  • Weed management
  • Tree grafting
  • How to use farm tools
  • Where to Find Technical Assistance for an Urban Farm (Purdue Extension, NRCS, SWCD)
  • Financial Assistance for an Urban Farm
  • Community Benefits of Urban Agriculture
  • Urban Agriculture Concepts
  • Aquaponics
  • Soil health
  • Remediation

Project Outcomes

2 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
Key practices changed:
    4 Grants applied for that built upon this project
    5 New working collaborations
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.