Biofuels and community participation: Engaging process in the emerging bioeconomy

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $22,709.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Sharon Lezberg
Environmental Resources Center

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, workshop
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will provide training materials to Extension, NRCS educators and community stakeholders on ways to engage community members and stakeholders in assessing proposed bioenergy developments. The project team will review various frameworks for community engagement and will develop an inventory of strategies to encourage community participation in siting and development issues. We will identify assessment tools for community members to evaluate the pros and cons of bioenergy production. An in-service training program for Wisconsin based Extension agents will provide sessions on sustainability issues in the emerging bioeconomy, strategies for community involvement, and use of decision-making frameworks.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall objective of the project is to provide tools to Extension Agents and other community based educators to engage community residents in decision-making about bioenergy production.

    The long term outcomes of the project are that:
    1) educators utilize a community-based participatory framework to respond to this and other emerging agricultural issues,
    2) educators address sustainability concerns of agricultural technology development, and
    3) citizen voices inform public policy regarding siting of biofuels facilities.

    The short-term outcomes of the project are that educators:
    1) have access to information about biofuels sustainability concerns,
    2) gain insights into the process of community engagement,
    3) are exposed to tools and skills to promote community participation, and
    4) gain confidence in their ability to facilitate community participation in discussions about the bioeconomy.

    To reach these outcomes, the project will:
    1) develop case studies of the educator’s role in facilitating community input,
    2) develop an inventory of strategies for encouraging community participation in bioenergy assessment,
    3) develop training materials for community member participation in bioenergy assessment,
    4) conduct one in-service training program for extension personnel (anticipated participation of 75 people),
    5) share educational materials with others in the region.

    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.