SAL17-002 State Plan of Work

Final report for SAL17-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $9,649.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Alabama A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
State Coordinators:
Dr. Rudy Pacumbaba
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Ayanava Majumdar
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University
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Project Information

Abstract:

Alabama SARE program (Auburn University and Alabama A&M University combined) serves over 1000 small producers, educators, and community gardeners each year since 2010. A major limitation of organic production system is insect pest pressure in the south and the Alabama SARE program directly assists producers in reducing vegetable production loss and crop contamination. SARE program at Auburn University provides multi-level hands-on training to small producers with immediately useful information. SARE program at Alabama A&M supports small urban farms and community gardeners in the northern parts of the state. This proposal essentially supports the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Program and proposes development of content using complex digital media while focusing on collaboration between institutions and program delivery via farm incubators and nonprofits for standardized distance education system. This proposal will continue to focus on train-the-trainer part more intensively with Auburn and Alabama A&M Universities cross-training Extension agents and county coordinators using a mix of online and on-farm training.

Project Objectives:

Urban Food Production Training: ACES/Urban Affairs Unit provides services to under served clientele in urban areas in the state of Alabama, the major objectives of this proposal are:

l. Development of integrated multidisciplinary training module focused on urban gardens, intensive small scale
vegetable production, organic production, and pest management aspects for urban food production (emphasis on
ethnic food production)
2. Provide training to statewide URBAs, educators, and potential urban food producers through the use of online
curriculum and onsite field-days and workshops.

Subject Topics: Development of integrated multidisciplinary training module focused on urban gardens, intensive small scale vegetable production and sustainable practices, organic production, and pest
management aspect for urban food production (emphasis on Fa1mscaping practices).

Training Objectives: (Audience) Provide training to statewide regional extension agents, and small-farm urban food producers through the use of online curriculum and onsite field-days and workshops.

Objective 1. Subject matter topics for electronic curriculum, Farmscaping, Square Foot Gardening, and
Produce Safety (Alabama A&M): Here is a brief description of the elements of the proposes e-curriculum on
Urban Food Production. Modules will include naiTated and animated learning materials along with interactive
quizzes and web-links. Urban food production initiative (2 course modules): This will be developed at
Alabama A&M and contain a module on intensive small scale production methods integrated with organic
IPM and Farmscaping. Online pre and post survey will be administered to participants to determine level of
understanding and material adoption.

Mobile Learning Technology Platform: Water Wheels is Urban Home Grounds', mobile learning platform
originally developed for 6-12 grade youth education on water conservation. The Water Wheels also serves as
Urban Home Grounds' mobile learning/training platform integrating programming modules of Urban Gardens
and Urban Green. The electronic modules will be designed with end users in mind (e.g., new urban food
producers) and may later be expanded to be more inclusive of advanced topics for experienced producers. The
curriculum will be mainly shared via Alabama SARE, Vegetable IPM websites, and Urban Home Grounds'
Urban Gardens and Sustainable Landscapes website.

Objective 2. Project promotion and training: There is a high demand from small-farm urban vegetable and
back yard poultry producers for regional workshops and qualified trainers. Support will be provided in the
development of 2 modules on intensive small scale production methods integrated with organic IPM statewide
and share information with agents and clientele through online In-Service training modules, newsletters
(Metro News), newspaper and magazine articles.

Train-the-trainer: An in-service technical training workshop and on site field-day workshop for UREAs ( ~6),
educators and urban clientele will be conducted Fall 2018, November 2, 2017.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Rhonda Britton (Educator)
  • Marcus Garner (Educator)
  • Dr. Karnita Golson-Garner (Educator and Researcher)
  • Robert Spencer (Educator)
  • Dr. Ernst Cebert (Educator and Researcher)

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Produce Safety Alliance: Fresh Produce Safety Train the Trainer Workshop Spring Session
Objective:

Provide educational, training material, and travel scholarships support for fresh produce training for producers that may come under new USDA-FSMA regulations

Description:
Completed the Course!

2018-PSA-TRAINING-PROGRAM.-AGENDA.-TENTATIVE

PSA Training at ACES - AAMU Agribition Center

PSA-IT-agenda-AAMU

Outcomes and impacts:

Two train the trainer workshops were conducted Spring & Fall. The SARE professional development program provided educational, training materials, and travel scholarship for out of town attendants.

Produce Safety Alliance: Fresh Produce Safety Train the Trainer Workshop Fall Session
Objective:

Provide educational, training material, and travel scholarships support for fresh produce training for producers that may come under new USDA-FSMA regulations

Description:
Outcomes and impacts:

Two train the trainer workshops were conducted Spring & Fall. The SARE professional development program provided educational, training materials, and travel scholarship for out of town attendants.

Winter Forage Workshop/Demonstration Field Day
Objective:

The goal of this event was to demonstrate a few options on cool-season forages that could provide nutrition for large and small ruminants during a time of the year when grazing material tends to be sparse. Failure to provide sufficient nutrition during winter months can result in poor body-condition, lackluster vigor and productivity, and complications with health and reproduction.

Description:

Event was held May 8 at the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green, AL from 6-8 PM.  Meeting facility and site for field day were provided at no charge with an estimated value of $450 including light food, snacks, and drinks. Field day was attended by 20 adults with 7 being representatives from Alabama A&M University, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and USDA: NRCS.  This event was made possible by: a Southern SARE Grant, an AMRV RC&D Education Grant, and support from ACES and AAMU.  The forage site was at the Small Ruminant Outreach Center grazing paddocks, and winter forage seed money ($400) was provided by a Southern SARE Grant.  Two of the attendees were new to farming.

This event used a combination of site-visits to view wheat, rye, clover, winter peas, and a mix of the fore mentioned; grazing and forage experts to discuss options and management; questions and answers among attendees and experts, and hand-outs with relevant information.  Other topics included Renewable Energy Program for farmers and small businesses, and availability of Southern SARE Grants.

Winter-Forage-Crop-Event-Success-Story

Outcomes and impacts:

Diversity of 20 attendees included:

  • All adult
  • 17 Male, 3 Female
  • 3 American Indian, 1 Asian, 4 Black, 11 White, & 1 Other

At the end of event each attendee was provided an evaluation form, 92% of evaluations were completed.  Post event evaluation showed:

  1. Is your farm already registered with local USDA Service Center? 10-Yes, 2-No
  2. Is this the first time for you to attend an Extension event? 2-Yes, 10-No
  3. Are you interested in the renewable energy program? 3-Yes, 4-Maybe, 5-No
  4. Did you find the site visit to winter forages of interest? 11-Yes, 1-Somewhat
  5. Did you learn more about winter grazing options? 11-Yes, 1-Somewhat
  6. Will you implement some of these practices next fall? 7-Yes, 5-Maybe
  7. Do you believe this would increase nutrition for livestock and reduce feed costs? 10-Yes, 2-Somewhat
  8. Would this maintain or increase body-condition of your livestock during winter months? 7-Yes, 5-Somewhat
  9. Would this increase the vigor or productivity of your livestock? 5–Yes-,7- Maybe
  10. Do you feel tonight’s information would make improvements/efficiencies on your farm? 9-Yes, 3-Maybe
  11. Do you feel these type practices would increase the likelihood for long-term sustainability and/or profitability? 11-Yes, 1-No.
  12. Would you recommend this type of program to friends? 11-Yes, 1-No

This event used a combination of site-visits to view wheat, rye, clover, winter peas, and a mix of the fore mentioned; grazing and forage experts to discuss options and management; questions and answers among attendees and experts, and hand-outs with relevant information.  Other topics included Renewable Energy Program for farmers and small businesses, and availability of Southern SARE Grants.

Train the Trainer Agriculture Awareness - STEM Gardens (K-6)
Objective:

Provide educational training and training material (STEM Garden Curricula & Demonstration garden) to educational professionals to increase agriculture sustainable practice awareness within city schools

Description:

Train the Trainer workshops were conducted at an elementary and middle school which do not have an agriculture curriculum within their science program.
Schools were encouraged to explore sources of extramural funding for building material support of raised bed gardens.
Regional Extension Agents trained with the STEM curriculum served as instructors for the train the trainer workshops.
Extension volunteers were used to provide continued garden mentoring to support sustainability.

Outcomes and impacts:

Demonstration gardens were supported for two grades (1st and 3rd). Each grade level is supported by 5 educational professionals and serves 115 minority students.

Spring & Fall Home Grounds, Gardens, and Home Pests Extension In-Service
Objective:

Provide Extension Professional In-Service training in FSMA food safety training updates, Agriculture Awareness STEM Gardens, Sustainable Nursery Production & Conservation Practices

Description:

Provide educational in-service training (Workshops - 2, and Field Day Tours - 2) and training material (STEM Garden curricula & Extension publication - GMO Food Facts).

Outcomes and impacts:

Two In-Service workshops were conducted (Spring and Fall) to provide the latest information on FSMA food safety training updates, Agriculture Awareness STEM Gardens, Sustainable Nursery Production & Conservation Practices.
Extension professionals within the Home Grounds programming team asked for this type of information to help support their current effort to promote sustainable production practices to small farm producers within urban communities.
SARE resources has helped provide trainer and small farmer training as well as provide support to AAMU's Small Farms Research Center.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
1 Tours
10 Travel Scholarships
2 Webinars / talks / presentations
4 Workshop field days
2 Other educational activities: Train the Trainer, Promoting Agriculture in the Classroom: STEM Gardens (K-6)

Participation Summary:

5 Extension
1 NRCS
21 Farmers/ranchers
10 Others

Learning Outcomes

13 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
13 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The professional development program has provided necessary support for educational professionals and small farmers in the areas of food safety training, sustainable workshop demonstration plots on winter forage crops, sustainable practices used in agriculture production in order to promote ag awareness to urban communities.

8 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
6 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
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.