Final report for SLA19-001
The Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) in collaboration with the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus (SUAREC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture. Themes for 2019 – 2020 include: practical farm certifications, sustainable farm tour, beneficial insects, honey and value-added products, hoop house production, insect control research, climate challenges, the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) annual meeting, and the Louisiana SAWG annual meeting, as well as regional sustainable agriculture related conferences and workshops. LSUAC and SUAREC extension personnel will be strongly encouraged to attend the training sessions. Information delivery systems to be utilized include trainings, workshops, conferences, networking sessions, farm tours, field days, hands-on demonstrations, handouts, resource manuals and informational bulletins. The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board will meet twice annually for programmatic planning and evaluation. The program assistant (half-time), funded by this project, will be responsible for maintaining the state SARE website (http://www.southernsare.org/SARE-in-Your-State/Louisiana) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaSARE/). The other duties for this position include coordination of state workshops and field days, SSAWG travel awards and arrangements, sustainable agriculture materials generated by the project, promotion of SARE resources and grant opportunities, promotion of related sustainable agriculture resources, events, and opportunities across the state, and development of on-line and hard copy sustainable agriculture resources.
The overall objectives of the Louisiana Model State Plan (MSP) are:
• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
• Conduct bi-annual state advisory board meetings with the purpose of revising and modifying the strategic plan.
• Identify annual training objectives with the input from the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board.
• Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
• Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.
• Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.
The educational approach used in the project changed once the COVID-19 pandemic required new guidelines to be followed such as social distancing as well as meeting and working remotely via digital means such as online meetings, webinars, etc.
All events that took place in 2019 were in-person and included face-to-face instruction or general meetings and can generally be described as "hands-on".
Education & Outreach Initiatives
To establish and maintain bonds with Louisiana's Annie's Project program manager to provide Southern SARE education and outreach to underserved communities.
SARE Program Assistant attended the steering committee meeting to build bonds with Annie’s Project program manager and other supporting organizations, including LSU AgCenter agritourism, Farm Credit, and other extension agents supporting SARE’s mission to provide sustainable farming education to underserved populations.
Bonds with the Louisiana-based program manager for Annie's Project were formed and training ideas are to be discussed in the future which would provide women in Louisiana's agriculture industry with Southern SARE educational materials.
To network with other extension personnel and expand Louisiana SARE staff's knowledge and skill regarding horticulture topics.
SARE Program Assistant attended the field day in Hammond, LA which covered various topics including gardening and ornamental guidance, as well as social media posting techniques and etiquette from the communications department of the LSU AgCenter. The program assistant networked with other extension personnel and attended several informal training sessions covering topics such as vegetable grafting, composting, and integrated pest management.
The LA SARE program assistant travelled to Hammond, LA to attend the field day and was able to network with several extension personnel from near as well as far areas of Louisiana. Additionally, the program assistant was able to gain valuable insight into skills such as vegetable grafting, composting, and pest management. Furthermore, the program assistant was able to improve online communication skills by learning new techniques and etiquette. Both of these skillsets will allow the program assistant to provide a better service to Southern SARE clientele in Louisiana.
Gather and discuss ideas for new training incentives and plan for upcoming events.
Several discussions were held during this LA SARE Advisory Board Meeting which included past events and their impact, updates regarding the growth and promotion of Louisiana SARE, and event planning efforts for upcoming training events and workshops as well as their potential locations.
The LA SARE program assistant was able to gather a variety of ideas that can be developed into new training as well as suggestions on future events.
To network with other Southern SARE partner states and receive racial equity training.
SARE State Coordinator travelled to Lexington, KY to attend the Southern Region SARE State Coordinators’ Training. The event included several meeting and training sessions for the administrative council as well as the state coordinators including a bus tour of local farms and a racial equity training.
The LA SARE Program Coordinator was able to travel to Lexington, KY and network with fellow program coordinator from other states as well as receive racial equity training. Additionally, the program coordinator was able to attend a local farm tour and gain insight into the local methods and techniques used by growers and producers in Kentucky.
Assist with the planning, organizing, and implementation of the 2019 LaSAWG conference.
The LaSAWG 2019 Conference took place in New Orleans and featured farm tours, several sessions regarding connecting to state and federal government organizations, establishing a cooperative business, as well as selling to restaurants and farmers’ markets. Many of these sessions also featured panel discussions. Other topics included seed saving, mentoring youths, and food policy. The conference also featured several sessions intended for regional planning and community organization.
Louisiana SARE was able to assist with the planning, organizing, and event execution of the 2019 LaSAWG conference. Additionally, the program assistant was able to network with other extension personnel as well as farmer mentors and local community leaders. Furthermore, several conference sessions provided the program assistant with new ideas, knowledge, and insight into sustainable agriculture and how to promote it further in Louisiana.
Explain the different produce safety certifications and brandings, including Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Food Safety Modernization Act, U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic, Safe Quality Food, Certified Naturally Grown, and others.
The Practical Farm Certification Training is designed to provide Louisiana-based growers and producers with up-to-date information on the many laws and regulations as well as practices and certifications for today's growers and producers. Training participants will receive information regarding various produce safety certifications including Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act, USDA Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, and even product quality certifications such as Safe Quality Food (SQF).
Many Louisiana-based farmers and ranchers as well as extension personnel were able to participate in a training that provided its attendees with the latest information on food safety certifications and practices as well as laws and regulations. This training has allowed many growers and producers to increase their knowledge regarding these types of certifications and get in contact with the organizations that issue them.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Face of SARE
The Louisiana SARE program is promoted in-person as well as online, for example, through a Facebook page which is maintained by the Louisiana State University AgCenter. Any documents that are distributed, in either hard- or soft-copy format, include the SARE logo as well as acknowledgement of sponsorship.