Final report for SFL16-002
Florida activities for 2016-2017 will build upon the basic framework for the model state
program. Planned activities include integrating results of SARE funded research and Extension
activities, and other relevant research, and use this information as resources for educational
programs. We also plan to continue to strengthen our focus on targeted training for Extension
faculty at the state and county level, representatives of non-profit organizations,
representatives of state and federal government agencies, and farmer representatives. The
Model State Program has three priorities: (1) we continue to focus on outreach and training
that enhances the environmental and economic benefits of production agriculture, (2) for the
past four years we have developed programs that focus on ways to maintain traditional
agricultural businesses and foster the growth of new food and agricultural businesses, and (3)
we are developing an emphasis on local and regional food systems in order to address issues
like infrastructure for processing and marketing and policies that affect the food system. We
have four objectives that flow directly from these priorities: (1) maintain existing and establish
new collaborative Extension training and programs with faculty members and county agents at
the University of Florida and Florida A&M whose work addresses sustainability in production
agriculture, (2) extend collaboration with the emerging organizations that are active in the postproduction
components of the food systems, particularly the non-profit organizations and
governmental organizations whose work fosters the development of food and agriculture
businesses, (3) support the development of Extension programs in food systems, including the
work of regional Extension specialists whose work often includes both the on-farm production
aspects of the food system and the post-farm gate aspects of food system development, and (4)
expand the participation of minority, women, and limited resource farmers and professionals in
SARE activities and programs, ensuring that these groups and organizations are well
represented in the full range of SARE-funded professional development opportunities. To fulfill
these priorities and objectives, our training program funds will be used to address training
programs in three subject matter areas: (1) new and emerging solutions for Florida agricultural
production, (2) advancing extension capacity in sustainable agriculture, and (3) entrepreneurial
innovation in sustainable agriculture. Our expected outcomes are: (1) state, regional and
county Extension faculty will participate in annual SARE in-service training programs that focus
on emerging technologies in agricultural production that address critical issues like water deficit
and emerging pathogens and pests, and will use this information in their own Extension
programs, (2) county faculty members will participate in regional and national training
programs in sustainable agriculture, such as the SARE Cover Crops Conference, and will apply
the lessons learned in their own programs, such as models for the development of value added
products or use of cover crops, (3) at least two of the statewide Extension priority teams will
include information and resources about sustainable agriculture and SARE in their professional
development training programs and Extension programming, (4) through SARE, Extension
agents and farmers will identify opportunities for the development of alternative crops and
enterprises and will play key roles in outreach and research projects that focus on alternative
crops and enterprises, such as SARE-funded Research & Education, Professional Development,
and On-Farm Research projects, (5) regional and local county agents will develop new
collaborations with organizations, agencies, and groups working in sustainable agriculture,
including non-profit and for-profit organizations involved in post-farm gate food processing,
marketing and distribution and policy development, and (6) state, regional and county
Extension faculty members and agents will make increased use of resources to support programming in sustainable agriculture, including fiscal resources such as Southern SARE
Our overall goal is to incorporate sustainable agriculture into three of Florida’s five Extension
programming areas: agriculture and natural resources management, community and rural
development, and food systems. The latter of these three programming priorities is a new area
of emphasis for Florida Cooperative Extension. Our intent is to apply the systems approach that
SARE has developed in its approach to research and extension to SARE programming in Florida
through a focus on three areas. (1) We continue to focus on outreach and training that
enhances the environmental and economic benefits of production agriculture. (2) For the past
four years we have developed programs that focus on ways to maintain traditional agricultural
businesses and foster the growth of new food and agricultural businesses. (3) We are
developing an emphasis on local and regional food systems in order to address issues like
infrastructure for processing and marketing and policies that affect the food system. We have
four objectives that flow directly from this systems approach to sustainable agriculture training
I. Maintain existing and establish new collaborative Extension training and programs with
faculty members and county agents at the University of Florida and Florida A&M whose
work addresses sustainability in production agriculture.
II. Extend collaboration with the emerging organizations that are active in the postproduction
components of the food systems, particularly the non-profit organizations
and governmental organizations whose work fosters the development of food and
agriculture businesses. Florida has developed new positions in community and rural
development that focus on economic development and we will develop collaborative
activities with these county and regional agents. The community and rural development
focus in Florida Extension reflects the opportunities that are emerging to grow food and
agriculture related businesses and represents an opportunity to foster linkages between
Extension and the emerging non-profit and private sector leadership in a period in
which expansion of food and agriculture businesses serving local and regional food
systems is growing.
III. Support the development of Extension programs in food systems, including the work of
regional Extension specialists whose work often includes both the on-farm production
aspects of the food system and the post-farm gate aspects of food system development.
Florida Extension is developing for the first time positions identified specifically with the
development of local and regional food systems. We will provide training in sustainable
agriculture and support these agents’ programmatic development. We will draw on
SARE’s developing work in food systems and use SARE resources such as bulletins (e.g.,
“SARE and Local Food Systems”), examples of successful projects, and regional field
days, conferences and other training programs that emphasize the relationships
between sustainable agriculture and food systems.
IV. Expand the participation of minority, women, and limited resource farmers and
professionals in SARE activities and programs, ensuring that these groups and
organizations are well represented in the full range of SARE-funded professional
development opportunities. Partnerships with key leaders in the development of smallscale
food and agricultural related businesses and the non-profits that support them are
particularly critical in order to ensure that the opportunities for growth in these
emerging components of the food system reflect the entire community of players in the
food system. Women, for example, have been particularly important in Florida in the
development of small-scale processing facilities.
Our educational approach used in this project provided:
- An all-day hands-on workshop with six facilitated presentations and follow-up question and answer sessions about recent scientific advancements relative to soil enhancement and sustainability in Florida.
- A field demonstration where Farm Fest attendees saw use of enhanced microorganisms (EM) as a soil treatment practice in hot pepper production.
The target audience for these events consisted of county Extension agents, industry collaborators, research scientists, private sector technical advisers, small scale crop producers, pasture and hay producers, organic growers, home gardeners, agriculture teachers, students and citizens.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
1. Explain various practices that protect water quality and enhance soil quality.
2. Identify appropriate material that can be used as organic nutrients, such as specific types of compost materials, cover crops, and plant residue.
3. Determine the appropriate application method, rates and timing for use of organic nutrient sources.
4. Demonstrate management practices for using cover crops and other organic materials.
5. Learn how to incorporate Enhanced Microorganisms (EM) into cropping systems for soil quality improvement.
Soil Health and Quality Workshop:
This training explored the role of soil amendments and cover crops in enhancing soil quality and water quality protection and maintenance. Topics covered included:
- Disinfecting soils by way of anaerobic soil disinfestation
- Understanding and influencing soil microorganism populations
- Cover crops for soil building and maintenance
- Understanding and interpreting soil tests to determine fertilizer needs
Soil Health and Quality Workshop:
In total, 13 out of 23 participants completed the evaluation instrument. The instrument asked participants to evaluate how good or poor the presentations were on the following aspects:
- Learning environment
- Training outcomes, and
- Individual presentations.
Participants evaluated the quality of the learning environment at the workshop based on the five criteria below. Participants selected scores from 1 to 5 (1 = Very Poor, 5 = Very Good). The average score for each criteria is included in parentheses.
- Time spent on hands-on activities. (2.08)
- Opportunities for interaction with other participants. (3.77)
- Opportunities for asking questions or comments. (4.46)
- Activities to get me involved. (3.15)
- Answers to questions. (4.38)
Participants gave an overall rating for the workshop, which was 4.69, indicating a very positive evaluation.
Participants indicated their willingness to use the information learned in the workshop in their work and also their commitment to using the information learned in their work. Participants selected scores from 1 to 5 (1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The average score for willingness to use was 4.33 and the average score for commitment to use was 4.42, indicating the usefulness and relevance of the workshop.
Participants also indicated the degree that the workshop increased their competency level in the subject matter. The overall rating was 3.47, where 3 = some and 4 = a lot, indicating the workshop increased competency in the subject matter presented.
There were six individual presentations at the 2016 FAMU Soil Health and Quality Workshop. Participants selected scores from 0 to 5 (0 = N/A, 1 = Very Poor, 5 = Very Good). The average score for all presentations was 4.59, indicating that the participants had positive opinions of the presentations as a whole. The average scores for the individual presentations ranged from 4.23 to 4.92, indicating that each presentation was effective, relevant, and engaging.
Dr. Cassel Gardner established new demonstration plots to show use of enhanced microorganisms (EM) as a soil treatment practice in crop production. Hot pepper was used as the target crop. This project was featured as a sustainable production practice during the 2016 Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) Farm Fest activities.
The objective of this demonstration plot was to teach the Farm Fest attendees to incorporate Enhanced Microorganisms (EM) into cropping systems for soil quality improvement.
The FAMU Cooperative Extension Program offered the community an educational and entertaining look into the world of farming and agriculture during the 2016 Farm Fest. Attendees were treated to a host of activities, including educational exhibits and presentations on agroforestry, container gardens, horticulture, livestock, urban markets, vegetable production, hydroponics, and wind tunnels. Other activities included a crop tasting, health expo, farmers’ market, farm tour, kids’ fun zone, and festival games.
Workshops and Demonstrations:
- Protected Agriculture:
- Season Extension
- Vegetable Production
- Herbs: Gardening and Useful Purposes
- Sustainable Gardening Systems for Homeowners: Vegetables, Plants, Flowers, Fruit Trees
- Animal Composting
- Small Scale Livestock Animal Healthcare
- Fabulous and Fit: Nutrition Science
- Interested in Organic Farming?
- Beginner’s Guide to Organic Farming
- Application and Certification Process
- Farm to School
- Youth Entrepreneurship
- Youth and Law Enforcement
- Kids: Fun with Food Science
- Youth Gardening
Educational & Outreach Activities
Florida SARE Newsletter Emails - 12
Face of SARE
We distribute SARE educational materials at all PDP trainings and at other professional development venues in Florida when appropriate to the audience. We distribute SARE materials to general public audiences through the work of county faculty and collaborators in our programs. For example, over 300 publications were distributed in 2015 at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference.