Food, Farming and Sustainability: A Whole Systems Approach for Farm-to-School Education for the Future of Food Security.

Progress report for ONC23-134

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2023: $38,192.00
Projected End Date: 04/01/2025
Grant Recipient: Good Shepherd Montessori School
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Therese Zimmerman
Good Shepherd Montessori School
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Project Information


Building on our previous SARE grant (ONC21-097) Farm Education for core curriculum, we request funding to conduct an online, 21 video, conference for farmers and teachers interested in partnering to build school farm programs as a tool for growing a resilient and sustainable local food system and environment in the NCR. This conference will market heavily to small farmers, both urban and rural in the NCR, and provide curriculum and training to encourage whole systems approaches to education using the farm lifecycle as the foundational tool. By doing so, we can address a number of looming insecurities experienced by small farmers in our region including land access, ready markets, quality of life issues, and we can promote farming careers while helping future generations understand the relationship between agriculture and environmental health. 

During the conference, local farmers, agriculture professionals, and teachers will participate as expert instructors. Each participant will receive all handouts via a link to drop box online for each presentation.  All conference activities will aim to inform and inspire the development of unique farm programs across the region.


Project Objectives:
  • To include young adult interns in pre and post-conference development and data collection as an educational experience
  • Plan and execute a recorded 3-day professional conference for training and consulting to advance farmer/teacher partnerships in farm educational programming. This conference will be /marketed and available on the website and SARE Data base for a $10. fee and agreement by purchaser to complete 1 pre and 2 post surveys.
  • Provide each conference attendee an excerpt from the manuscript Food, Farming and Sustainability: A Curriculum Guide for Home, Schools, and Farms for participating conference attendees(product of SARE grant, ONC21-097). This handout will accompany the keynote video presented by Theri Niemier titled, Lessons of 25 Years of Farm and School Experience
  • Collect and evaluate surveys: pre and post-conference (6-month and 18-month) to measure conference and curriculum success regarding attitudinal and conceptual changes of participants and development of new farm-to-school programming.
  • Prepare SARE reports


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Ben Hartman (Educator and Researcher)
  • Chris Cobb (Educator and Researcher)
  • Matt Insley (Educator)
  • Emily Mann (Educator)
  • Deborah Knepp
  • Sarah Longennecker (Educator)
  • Allison Pudlo (she/her) (Educator)
  • Susan Greutman (Educator)
  • Gwynneth Hurley
  • Brandon Roberts (Researcher)
  • Leena Mariana (Researcher)
  • Laura Garvey (Educator)
  • Andrew Garvey (Educator)
  • Grace Kyle (Educator)
  • Therese Niemier - Technical Advisor (Educator)


Involves research:
Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

5 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Journal articles
21 On-farm demonstrations
21 Online trainings
1 Published press articles, newsletters
4 Tours
21 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

25 Farmers participated
5 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

The numbers above reflect the finished online video conference that is available on you tube with a link access. The video conference was made available  for viewing in late February so numbers will increase as viewers participate. The numbers I have reflected to date include the presenters of the conference.

This is the link to subscribe to the conference

The conference will be available until December 2024.

Learning Outcomes

5 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation

Project Outcomes

10 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
5 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Our data collection will come at 6 months(8/24) and 18 months so too early to reflect here right now.

Information Products

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.