2021 Florida SARE MSP Proposal FAMU

Progress report for SFL21-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $11,108.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2023
Grant Recipients: University of Florida; Florida A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Florida
State Coordinators:
Dr. Cassel Gardner
Florida A&M University
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Marilyn Swisher
University of Florida
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Project Information

Abstract:

Florida activities for 2021-2022 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 using this information as resources for educational programs. We also plan to continue to strengthen our focus on targeted training for state and county Extension faculty, representatives of non-profit organizations, representatives of state and federal government agencies, and farmer representatives. To fulfill the priorities and objectives of our program, our training funds will be used to address 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.

Project Objectives:
  1. Maintain existing and establish new collaborative Extension trainings and programs with faculty members and county agents at University of Florida and Florida A&M University whose work addresses sustainability in production agriculture.
  2. Extend collaboration with organizations that are active in the post-production components of food systems, particularly non-profit, state, and governmental organizations whose work fosters development of food and agriculture businesses.
  3. Support the development of Extension programs in food systems, including Regional Specialized Agents whose work includes both on-farm production and post-farm gate aspects of food system development.
  4. Expand participation of minority, women, and limited resource farmers and professionals in SARE activities and programs, ensuring that these groups are well represented in the full range of SARE-funded professional development opportunities.

Our expected outcomes are:

  1. Extension faculty will participate in SARE in-service training programs and use this information in their own programming,
  2. Extension faculty will participate in regional and national training programs in sustainable agriculture and apply the lessons learned in their own programming,
  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, outreach, and research of alternative crops and enterprises,
  5. regional and local county agents will develop new collaborations with organizations, agencies, and groups working in sustainable agriculture, and
  6. Extension faculty and agents will make increased use of resources to support programming in sustainable agriculture.
Introduction:

The 2021-22 Florida SARE programming builds upon our previous years’ work in two ways.

(1) We continue to focus on outreach and training that enhances the environmental and economic benefits of production agriculture.

(2) We continue to host trainings that emphasize local and regional food systems to address issues and policies that impact our food system.

Advisors

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Education

Educational approach:

Our educational approach used in this project provided:

  1. A demonstration project looking at the benefits of soil amendments and cover crops on soil health and water quality.
  2. A research/demonstration project looking at the production and benefits of medicinal plants.
  3. Travel scholarships for faculty, staff, and the State Co-Coordinator to attend sustainable agriculture trainings.

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

Practices to Improve Farm Sustainability Among Small Scale and Minority Producers
Objective:

The objectives of this initiative will focus on behavioral changes in participants that will enable them to bring about change in their local audiences and themselves.

Description:

Use of Soil Amendments and Cover Crops for Nutrient Availability, Soil Health, Conservation, and Water Quality Protection

The target audience for this training is cooperative extension faculty, NGOs, service providers, and mentor farmers. This training will focus on the use of bio-based soil amendments and cover crops in production systems for water quality protection and enhancement of soil quality. Participants who complete this training will be able to:

  1. Explain various practices that protect water quality and enhance soil health.
  2. Demonstrate management practices re use of cover crops and other organic materials.

 

Growing Medicinal Plants

Growing Medicinal plants can provide an opportunity for small/medium-sized farm owners to be more diversified and profitable.  Moringa plants and several other species of medicinal plants are maintained and grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. We aim to expose extension agents and small and medium-size socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to medicinal plants as a sustainable and alternative enterprise.

Outcomes and impacts:

Use of Soil Amendments and Cover Crops for Nutrient Availability, Soil Health, Conservation, and Water Quality Protection

We will host this training in 2022/23.

 

Growing Medicinal Plants

Twelve plant species were selected and grown for demonstration and training purposes at the FAMU Research and Extension Center in Quincy, Florida.  The plant species were selected based on review of the literature and familiarity with species.  The twelve selected species were: Anise hyssop (Agastache Foeniculum); Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera); Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus); Bitter melon (Momordica charantia); Guinea hen weed (Petiveria Alliaceae); Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum); Lavender (Lavandula); Leaf-of-life (Bryophyllum pinnatum); Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus); Moringa (Moringa oleifera); Pineapple sage ‘Golden Delicious’ (Salvia elegans); and Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). 

We will host additional small group demonstrations and outreach activities in 2022.  At the demonstrations, participants are provided information on growing instructions for the selected crops, their reported health benefits and their potential for establishment as niche crops.  Plant samples are also collected for antioxidant analysis.  A brochure which will include production guidelines and health related information specific to each species will be developed for distribution.

Advancing Extension Capacity in Sustainable Agriculture
Objective:

This initiative provides individualized training in specialized topics in sustainable agriculture. County and state faculty can participate in training relevant to their state and county programs that may not be a focus or an emphasis in the other Florida SARE initiatives. We allow county and state faculty to develop their own training objectives and propose venues that will provide the training they need. We also advertise training opportunities that may be of interest to Florida faculty.

Description:

Advanced Individualized Training

The target audience consists of cooperative extension faculty, food system NGOs, and mentor farmers that host trainings or engage in peer-to-peer learning groups. Scholarships are available to support attendance to a professional development program where the participant will receive training in topics relevant to sustainable agriculture. Program objectives:

  1. Increase participation in trainings related to sustainable agriculture that are associated with the SSARE Program.
  2. Increase participation in relevant national and regional trainings offered by other programs and organizations.
  3. Enhance the ability of the participant to develop and deliver local programming relevant to the goals of the Florida SARE program.
  4. Expand the current extension responsibilities of cooperative extension faculty participants to include programming related to sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Outcomes and impacts:

Advanced Individualized Training

We sponsor training scholarships for Extension professionals, mentor farmers, NGOs, and other agricultural service providers to participate in virtual and in-person sustainable agriculture events. Upon completion of the training, scholarship recipients are required to send a report to us about the conference, what they learned, and how they are currently using or plan to use what they learned in their work.

Educational & Outreach Activities

19 Consultations
1 On-farm demonstrations
12 Published press articles, newsletters
3 Study circle/focus groups
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

67 Extension
6 NRCS
39 Researchers
33 Nonprofit
15 Agency
35 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
156 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

2 New working collaborations
23 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
Additional Outcomes:

We held our 2021 Florida SARE Advisory Council meeting on 5/17/2021.  Training activities were limited due to COVID-19.  In-person events resumed in 2021/22.

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

We distribute SARE educational materials at all of our SARE trainings and other relevant programs in Florida. SARE materials are distributed to the public by state and county faculty that participate in our programs. We also distribute SARE books and educational materials to our listserv, advisory council, and scholarship recipients.

331 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
429 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.