2018 State Plan of Work- AL A&M University

Progress report for SAL18-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $11,018.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Alabama A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
State Coordinator:
Dr. Rudy Pacumbaba
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
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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 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 AgFood Production Training: ACES/Urban Affairs Unit provides services to underserved clientele in urban areas in the state of Alabama, the major objectives of this proposal are:
1. 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 UREAs, 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, PSA Food Safety programming, and pest management aspects for urban food production (emphasis on Farmscaping 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 narrated 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. Produce Safety 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 PSA Food Safety training/certification workshops and 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 REAs (~17), will be conducted Spring & Fall 2018.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Robert Spencer (Educator)
  • Dr. Ernie Cebert (Educator and Researcher)

Education & Outreach Initiatives

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.

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.

2018 Spring & Fall Home Grounds, Gardens, and Home Pests Extension In-Service
Objective:

Provide Extension Professional In-Service training in small fruit production training updates, pesticide use and IPM training updates, Sustainable Nursery Production & Conservation Practices, Urban Agriculture program introduction and training.

Description:

Two In-Service workshops were conducted (Spring and Fall) to provide the latest information on small fruit production training updates, IPM and pesticide use updates, Sustainable Nursery Production & Conservation Practices, Urban Ag program introduction and training.

SARE resources has helped provide trainer and small farmer training as well as provide support to AAMU’s Small Farms Research Center.

Outcomes and impacts:

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.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
4 Online trainings
3 Tours
7 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

22 Extension
11 Nonprofit
10 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes:

Demonstration plots for Ag Awareness – GMO vs Conventional Corn at the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station and Agribition Center were planted April 29th due to several weeks of rain. Received seed and associated chemicals for Ag Awareness plots.

GMO vs Conventional Corn at the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station and Agribition Center were ready for harvest and sampling by mid-July due to late planting (April 29th). Organized and conducted three days of harvest and sampling of GMO/Conventional corn. Sixty-three participants over the three days harvested from the corn plots and successfully completed the online survey.

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.

10 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
14 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
10 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
14 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.