Progress report for SLA20-002
The Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) in collaboration with the Southern University Research and Extension Center (SUAREC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture. Themes for 2020 – 2021 include: pastured poultry, fall garden and the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (LA SAWG) annual meeting as well as regional sustainable agriculture related conferences and workshops. Louisiana State University AgCenter and Southern University Agricultural Center extension personnel will be strongly encouraged to attend the training sessions. Information delivery systems to be utilized include workshops and long-distance education training sessions, field trips, 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. The other duties for this position include assisting in coordination of the state workshops and field days, the SSAWG scholarships and arrangements, the sustainable agriculture materials generated by the project, promotion of SARE resources and grant opportunities, 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 MSP for Louisiana will allow for enhanced programming effort beyond the state plans of work for the separate institutions (SUAREC, LSUAC). The MSP has allowed for the increased number of training sessions per year. The MSP has allowed the Louisiana SARE PDP to have greater resources available for training activities, using the Southern SARE Louisiana webpage for sustainable agriculture resources, as well as increased coordination and networking. The hiring of a program assistant through the SARE PDP allowed for a unified sustainable agriculture programming effort for the state.
The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board meets biannually and reviews the past year’s activities and strategic plan as well as the next year’s activities and plan. The 2020-2021 strategic plan and cycle is proposed to focus on themes different than the previous year. The successive years build upon the past workshops and trainings and the needs of the Louisiana SARE PDP stakeholders and feedback from the participants.
Because all activities were via Zoom, videos of interviews with farmers and presenters were included as well as virtual farm tours.
Questions and answers were included in all the virtual workshops.
Links to facebook live recording are included.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
To learn about Urban Farming from 3 urban Farms with different missions
Fullness Farm: a for profit Family farm sells at the Baton Rouge Farmers Market and also they have a CSA. They have college student interns.
Baton Roots Urban Farm is a Non profit and their main objective is training of youth and residents of a food dessert, and also get the volunteers to learn and help to maintain the farm.
Two of the previous farms are located in the Baton Rouge area.
Halls Family Farm, a small urban farm located in a small town, Northeast Louisiana. I for profit Farm and working with youth programs, 4H and local Schools.
All the speakers shared information on planting, harvesting and marketing. Because of Covid 19, the interest in growing food as increased exponentially, the online response we had is very positive
Educational & Outreach Activities
The year 2020/21 was a very challenging year because of Covid-19, but we were able to schedule virtual sustainable agriculture trainings.
Southern University was involved in numerous virtual sustainable agricultural programs geared toward extension agents, model farmers and ag professionals. As a result, our work and expertise in sustainable agriculture has encourage SUAREC involvement in local, regional, and nationwide outreach.
During recent months several virtual workshops have been implemented including the following topics:
• November 23, 2020 Virtual Fall Garden Workshop
Urban Agriculture Farm tour
This was one of our first large and traditional events at Southern University. It was a virtual Urban farm tour and we had a large audience. This was a Zoom and Facebook live event.
The Zoom audient stayed at more than 70 attendees
https://www.facebook.com/suagcenter/videos/2110516512411768, with more 687 views.
• May 5, 2021. Commercial Cut flower production and marketing
This was a virtual workshop via Zoom and Facebook live. We had more than 80 attendees via zoom and over 280 views for Facebooks live. We had 3 speakers and their presentation ranged from production of seedlings, planting schedules, varieties and marketing.
A production manual was provided; and we have plans to print the manual for in-person presentations.
A survey was provided to zoom participants. Results for survey are not available yet.
SUAREC faculty and staff members and experts from other governmental, NGO’s and private organizations provided their expertise to make all the mentioned events a success.
The training sessions and programs discussed above had the following outcomes:
• Increase awareness of SUAREC extension and research programs.
• Knowledge of resources that are available to Agricultural professionals regarding all the topics above mentioned.
• Increase request for information regarding topics on sustainable agriculture.
• Increase interest from Agricultural professionals, extension agents, farmers in attending sustainable agriculture events around the state.
• Greater regional impact
• Increased collaboration of research and extension personnel in sustainable agricultural programs
More awareness about SARE programs. Brochures are made available at each event.
SARE books and jump drives have been given to Agricultural professionals, extension agents and attendees to each event.
All these events have been partially or fully funded with SARE funds.
If Covid 19 restrictions remain the same in Louisiana, we are expecting to be back to some in person presentation this Fall. We will keep some activities virtual still.
Face of SARE
For all SARE related activities activities, SARE logo and acknowledgments for sponsorship is always included on Flyers and agendas. For publications and fact sheets SARE logo is included also