Food Alliance Workshops: Helping Extension Educators Build Community Food Systems with Certified, Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $13,645.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, market study
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, local and regional food systems, sustainability measures, community development

    Proposal abstract:

    This proposal addresses the professional development needs of extension educators who are integrating sustainable agriculture into their community development and food systems work. We propose a series of training workshops to be held in conjunction with already scheduled extension educator meetings. Workshops would be directed to extension educators in four North Central states – MN, IA, WI, IL. These workshops would consist of an overview of eco-labeling with specific presentation and discussion of Food Alliance certification and market development. Workshops would include case studies, discussion of complementary certifications (e.g. Food Alliance and organic), as well as discussion of the opportunities and challenges of marketing Food Alliance certified foods. In the short term, these workshops will raise awareness among extension educators of the ability of a wide range of sustainable agriculture practitioners to participate in eco-label marketing. Educators will be knowledgeable about Food Alliance certification and able to discuss the connection between certified sustainable agricultural practices and market rewards. Educators will become a community resource for farms interested in Food Alliance certification. Long term, educators will be able to integrate eco-labeling and Food Alliance certification into their community development programming. Educators will be a resource for Food Alliance certification and able to connect certified farms with Food Alliance marketplace partners. More farms will become certified for sustainable agricultural practices and will be rewarded in the regional marketplace. These outcomes will be evaluated through workshop surveys, extension educator feedback through on-going Food Alliance updates, and farm certifications in the Upper Midwest.

    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.