Learning how to use communities of practice to address sustainable agriculture issues

2009 Annual Report for ENC08-101

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $65,958.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Richard Pirog
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Beth Larabee
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Learning how to use communities of practice to address sustainable agriculture issues


A Community of Practice (CoP) building curriculum was developed and made available on the web. Two workshops (one for the north central region and a pilot for Iowa) were held in 2009 reaching more than 100 educators. Four follow-up calls on different aspects of building CoPs were completed in fall/winter 2009-2010 following the regional workshop. Pre-and post-evaluations were completed for both the training sessions. Changes in attitudes and knowledge gained were significant in the regional workshop; the Iowa impact results were adversely influenced by ISU Extension staffing changes announced the day of the workshop. Experiences of the facilitators and discussants and dialogue and interaction with fellow participants were critical for helping them understand the structure and function of the communities of practice and options for creating new ones.

Objectives/Performance Targets

This Value Chain Partnerships (VCP) project proposed to: (1) develop Community of Practice (CoP) curriculum and workshop materials (2) pilot test CoP Workshop training and materials prior to its formal launch with 20-24 Iowa State University (ISU) Extension county and field staff participating (3) provide the CoP Workshop in Year 1 to 48 Extension, agency, and/or non-profit educators and researchers in the north central states to address challenges in sustainable agriculture at a two-day workshop (4) allow participants to participate in a community of practice meeting (5) share all training materials on Communities of Practice on the web (6) provide regular conference calls and creation of a listserv to provide networking and problem solving support (7) develop a workshop in Year 2 where participants can share best practices as their new CoPs develop and evolve (8) workshop materials and short presentations also will be shared on the web (9) train an additional 120 Extension, agency, and/or non-profit educators and researchers in the north central states (10) evaluate activities using project surveys to measure short-term learning outcomes after each workshop in both Years 1 and 2. Year 2 evaluation activities will rely on face-to-face and/or telephone interviews to measure medium-term impacts of this project in terms of changes made by participants and representative organizations/agencies as a result of their participation.


VCP completed a written resource guide and workshop curriculum on creating, leading and managing CoPs. The Community of Practice Workbook was written in April 2009, revised in July 2009 and again in March 2010. The workbook is available at http://www.valuechains.org/files/resources/copresourceguide.pdf or http://communitiesofpractice.ning.com/profiles/blogs/communities-of-practice. A pilot workshop was held on April 30, 2009 with 38 Iowa State University Extension staff participating. The workshop was held the day that significant extension restructuring and job cuts were announced, which greatly reduced participants’ ability to focus on the workshop. The SARE PDP Workshop Session was held July 21-22 with 43 NCR SARE scholars, plus 20 North Central Region colleagues and 13 NCR SARE speakers and partners. This exceeded by 19 the expected attendance of 24 SARE Educators. Educators from California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maine also attended. All of the NCR SARE scholars participated in one of three communities of practice meetings: Grass-based Livestock, Pork Niche Market Working Group, or Regional Food Systems Working Group. Over the past 12 months, we also have provided URLs, CoP workbooks and other information to at least 10 interested parties and added 14 members to the Community of Practice Ning networking site. Web access to the CoP Curriculum has been accomplished by developing an on-line social networking site, http://communitiesofpractice.ning.com/. Participants have had access to the Community of Practice social networking site since June 2009. This site currently has 88 members from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin, and houses all the materials developed for the workshops plus a calendar, information on funding opportunities, additional related materials/activities as well as a blog. Four calls were held in 2009 for the SARE PDP educators and other participants by the VCP workshop team. On September 8, 2009 the call was led by Rich Pirog who explored what topics should be covered during subsequent calls (13 participants, six team members). The second call took place on October 20, 2009 when Gary Huber led the discussion on initiating communities of practice (11 participants, seven team members). On November 10, 2009 the topic was funding communities of practice led by Andy Larson (9 participants, six team members). On December 8, 2009 the branding communities of practice discussion was led by consultant Sue Honkamp (seven participants, seven team members) Budgeting for a large number of extra participants for the July workshop was challenging for the organizers given the reduced financial circumstances at Iowa State University and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, but the opportunity to offer this workshop to so many interested people could not be passed up. Iowa SARE PDP funds and supplemental funding from a USDA NRI grant were used to cover the cost of extra participants and additional transaction cost. Year 1 budget follows. The social networking site continues to see moderate traffic and additional people are joining the network. Planning is underway for a fall or winter workshop reconvening the SARE-PDP participants with an agenda focused on lessons learned from using community of practice approaches. We have requested the following re-budget to best use remaining resources in Year 2. Catering costs for the workshop were higher than expected with an increased number of NCR-SARE PDP participants (43 instead of the 24 anticipated) resulting in an increase of $1,668 in Supplies and Materials. Cost of travel reimbursement was less than expected for the NCR-SARE PDP participants supported by the grant (decrease of $2,168). Participant feedback indicates that a speaker who is excelling in a sustainable agriculture-focused community of practice would be valuable for the second convening of the NCR-SARE PDP grant supported participants. That requires an increase in funds to procure a high-quality speaker ($500 increase in Other Direct Costs). The amount of $4,620 was posted in the wrong line item (Supplies/Materials) and will be moved to Other Direct Costs.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

INTRODUCTION In July 2009, the Leopold Center held a workshop on creating and supporting Communities of Practice (CoPs) or working groups for Extension, agency, and non-profit educators and researchers in the north central states. The workshop was part of the Leopold Center's two-year NCR SARE PDP project to increase capacity in the north central states to initiate, manage, fund, and brand working groups to further work in sustainable agriculture. A total of 63 participants engaged in the regional workshop, formally referred to as the Community of Practice Workshop. This workshop was preceded by a pilot workshop held in late April for Extension staff in Iowa to sample the methods and materials. To evaluate the impact these workshops had on attendees, we developed two survey instruments: an electronic pre-test survey and a paper post-test survey. The purpose of these surveys was to: 1) prepare participants to think about issues addressed by the workshop prior to their arrival 2) gauge their interest in particular types of working groups to help the training team design workshop sessions 3) measure benchmark knowledge, attitudes, and experiences we could compare to post-test workshop survey results 4) measure medium-term changes in behavior that attendees might report at the end of the two-year project. EVALUATION RESULTS FROM THE PILOT WORKSHOP The pilot Community of Practice workshop for Extension was the first workshop delivered. It was created and delivered to: • Test pilot workshop materials and workshop community of practice curriculum prior to the July meeting with representatives from the North Central Region; • Explain the purpose, function, and value of using working groups to address key issues that are part of ISU Extension’s work plan; and • Use Iowa-based examples and lessons learned to share and discuss principles and considerations about initiating, managing, funding, and branding communities of practice as a process tool in ISU Extension programming. The Leopold Center initially aimed to involve a maximum of 24 people at the pilot workshop on April 30, 2009. However, requests continued to stream in beyond the intended cap. Ultimately, 43 attended. We asked registrants to complete a pre-test survey electronically; 38 of which were completed, for a response rate of 88 percent. Timing is critical, however. The day before the April 30 event, ISU Extension administrators informed the SARE project leader that on the day of the workshop, Extension would announce its new plan to restructure in response to severe budget cuts. The news was grim as positions would be eliminated. Despite this, administrators advised the SARE project leader to continue with the CoP training and asked to be added to the agenda so they could directly address attendees about the reorganization. They warned that some participants in attendance might not choose to stay for the training after hearing about the restructuring plan. Of the 43 attending, approximately seven did leave throughout the course of the day. From the 36 remaining, we received 26 useable post-workshop surveys, for a 72 percent response rate. The following tables and paragraphs briefly summarize what we learned from them. Table 1 shows a breakdown of the position and program area affiliations of responding Extension staff participating in the pilot workshop, as well as basic demographic characteristics. The reduction of County Extension Directors (CED) from 47.1 percent to 30.4 percent in the pre- to the post-test responses is likely the result of the Extension announcement the day of the workshop, in which all County Extension Directors in Iowa were given notice they would be losing their jobs in the reorganization. Many Extension Directors did not come as planned or left the workshop in progress once the announcement had been made. Field specialists were deemed "safe" and, therefore, we did not see any kind of attrition in this group based on numbers from the survey results. Table 1 also shows the program area expertise of Extension participants. (Respondents could choose more than one area.) Extension staff working in the areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Families comprised the majority of respondents, creating a roughly 3 to 1 ratio of Families or ANR staff to CED or 4-H personnel. Table 2 compares results from the pilot pre- and post-test questions that queried participants on the extent to which they agreed with 21 statements about their attitudes and knowledge of CoP-related issues. The table shows the pre-test survey mean of their responses on a 5-point scale (where 1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree) and the post-test survey means once the workshop had been conducted. The t-statistics and p-values also are listed. For every statement, the post-test mean increased once the workshop had been conducted, albeit only slightly for some. Yet, not all increases are statistically significant. Seven were not statistically significant at the p=.05 level, meaning that the increase in the means purely due to chance or error was high enough that we could not attribute knowledge and attitude changes to the workshop "intervention" or "treatment." Interestingly, Table 2 shows that the workshop had no effect on whether Extension personnel were interested in forming a CoP. These results differ from the July workshop results with representatives from the region (described later), which show a statistically significant (positive) change in participants' willingness to form a CoP after they had received the training. Also worthwhile to compare with the regional results is the lack of change in attitudes after the training among Extension personnel regarding the capacity of their organization to organize and lead the creation and facilitation of a CoP. Participants in the pilot training experienced no change in attitude regarding this point after attending the workshop (where p=.866), whereas the July workshop attendees were more likely to agree that their organization had the capacity once they had been through the training (p=.018). The day’s announcement to reorganize Extension and cut 100 County Extension Directors from the payroll almost certainly had an effect on these results, and most likely had an immediate impact on participants' attitudes about Extension having the capacity to function in the future. Questions related to participants' attitudes and activities regarding partnerships, while not statistically significant above in points r), s), and t), reveal that Extension already is looking outside itself to connect with other people and resources. The majority (87 percent) of respondents to the pre-test survey responded affirmatively when asked whether they had tried to leverage resources in the past two years in partnership with another organization, group or agency to further their work. Among the partners listed were local farmers; local businesses; Chambers of Commerce; local elected officials; county health officials; churches; food pantries; County Conservation boards; Farm Bureau; banks; insurance companies; community colleges; producer associations; City Parks and Recreation departments; local hospitals; schools; rural advocacy groups, such as the Center for Rural Affairs; state agencies, including IDALS and DNR, Workforce Development, and the Department of Health and Human Services; non- profits such as Resource Conservation and Development councils/agencies, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture; and low-income family service providers, such as Iowa Community Action agencies; and University-based partners including Extension and the Leopold Center. The range represented in this list of organizations, agencies, and institutions suggests Extension is already striving to make better use of local community resources. The notion of doing better outreach or some variation on that theme was listed by one in three participants as one of the most significant things learned in the workshop. "[We need to] spend more time bringing folks together," said one participant. Another remarked he had learned that "CoPs are a good way to bring diverse groups with common goals together to work towards those goals." Still others mentioned that the most significant thing they learned was the need to involve actual clients in working groups and how important working groups are as a means for "reaching and relating to clientele." This was the reason some Extension staff chose to attend: "I thought I could learn more about building collaboration and sponsorship [for Extension work]." Clearly, the notion of creating CoPs or working groups as a strategy for better engaging clients and communities in the work of Extension appealed to workshop participants. However, many were concerned about the availability of Extension resources to support such an approach. One participant prefaced his comments with, "If funding is available..." and another finished her comments with, "...if I am still involved with Extension." Although there were positive evaluation comments about the workshop and content delivered, there also were some tepid reactions, which one participant chalked up to "the context of the budget cut information [presented by Extension administrators that] affected us all and our participation. It was a distraction we couldn’t control." While some found it "difficult to engage in light of the news about Extension," others found value in the training and materials. "The resource workbook will be a great tool. Hearing from the various CoP working groups and having their examples was very helpful." For others, the workshop articulated "[what] I think is new language for what I have [already] done in communities in the past." EVALUATION RESULTS FROM THE REGIONAL WORKSHOP After modifying the design and format of the regional workshop based on experience and feedback from the pilot, the regional workshop was set for July 21-22 in Des Moines. At the time we first surveyed the regional workshop participants, 76 were signed up. Of those participants, 52 provided useable pre-test surveys, for a 68 percent response rate. We administered the pre-test survey electronically using Survey Monkey, an on-line survey tool. Of the 63 who actually attended the workshop, 51 completed a useable post-test survey, for a response rate of 81 percent. The post-test survey was administered on-site using paper copies included with the workshop handouts and materials. However, not all participants answered all questions all of the time. Therefore, tables throughout this report list the number of respondents (in parentheses) who answered each question. About the Respondents Table 3 shows that most respondents are women, particularly those responding to the post-test survey. This closely aligns with the gender of the attendees, which was 63 percent female, based on a review of names in the registration lists. However, men also were a strong contingent at the workshop, as were participants from several different age groups. Table 4 shows the average attendee age is 48 but the range spanned six decades, showing a mix of interest from nearly all age groups. Table 5 shows the occupational affiliations of participants, who were invited to choose multiple categories if applicable. Non-profit representation was the strongest by far, comprising one-third of workshop attendees. More than one in four attendees represented Cooperative Extension, while government employees and farm-related business each totaled nearly 14 percent of those present. Table 6 shows where workshop attendees live and/or work. The majority are from Iowa, followed by Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Michigan. And, although we have no pre- or post-test results from Kansas and no post-test results from North Dakota, one representative from each state did indeed attend the workshop, so that all 12 states in the North Central Region were represented. Impact on Regional Attitudes and Knowledge As we did for the ISU Extension pilot, in both the pre- and post-test surveys of regional representatives we asked participants to indicate the extent to which they agreed with 21 statements about their attitudes and knowledge of CoP-related issues. Table 7 shows the pre-test survey mean of their responses on a five-point scale (where 1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree) and the post-test survey means once the workshop had been conducted. We assumed normality of results given our sample size was over 100 (103) and therefore used parametric statistics (t-tests of means) to determine whether any rise or drop was statistically significant. The t-statistics and p-values also are shown in Table 7. For each of the 21 statements, the post-test mean increased once the workshop training had been delivered. For all but three statements, results were statistically significant where p<.05, meaning that the increase in the means purely due to chance and/or error is so small that we can attribute the change to the workshop. To interpret this in practical terms, use statement c) as an example. Here, the chance that the mean would increase from 3.71 to 4.20 without the workshop intervention is four in 1000, suggesting that the workshop is related to the increase. The lower the p value (i.e., closer to 0), the stronger the evidence we have that the means are indeed different. If the means were equal as hypothesized, there is a 4 in 1000 chance that a more extreme test statistic would be obtained using data from this population. These results are heartening, and show that knowledge and attitude changes can be attributed to the workshop. Statistics show that the workshop increased participants' familiarity with the CoP concept, increased awareness about CoP benefits, and increased participants' attitudes about their viability as a way to help their respective organizations achieve their goals. Participants also believe that CoPs can help their organization work more efficiently and can connect them to people and communities they serve. And while we saw a jump in participants' interest in forming a CoP as a result of the workshop, we did not see a significant increase in their interest to simply participate in a CoP. These results suggest that participants are looking to take on leadership roles in starting CoPs and already had a definite interest in participating in a CoP both before and after the workshop. The other two statements that did not generate statistically significant results were "I currently partner with other groups in my area of work to advance opportunities related to sustainable agriculture" and "I am willing to work with multiple organizations to create change in the area of sustainable agriculture." Although the means for both did increase, it was not enough of a bump to give credit to the workshop because participants attending the workshop already partnered with multiple organizations to further their work in sustainable agriculture. Such assertions are evident in responses to the question we posed about whether workshop registrants (pre-test) had tried to leverage resources in partnership with another organization, group, or agency to further work in sustainable agriculture. Nearly all (92.3 percent) said yes (n=52). Workshop participants provided even more details in the post-test survey, citing a mean of 14.4 new groups, organizations, agencies, and businesses they collaborated with in the past year to further their work (n=45), ranging from 0 to 150. The mode (most common response) was six new groups. If we remove the outlier of 150 groups, the mean drops to a still impressive 11.4 groups (where the mode remained the same and the maximum topped out at 41). Despite these impressive partnering figures, the workshop appeared to strengthen participants' pre-existing collaborative orientation, as indicated by their affirmative responses to the following questions: • Has this workshop prompted you to consider using the CoP model to work with groups with whom you have never partnered to further your work in sustainable agriculture? (83.3 percent "yes"; n=42) and • Has this workshop prompted you to consider using the CoP model when working with groups with whom you are already partnering to further your work in sustainable agriculture? (93.3 percent "yes"; n=45) Respondents cited other groups they would now consider working with in a community of practice setting (beyond the "choir" groups such as local food groups and regional produce distributors). More than a handful mentioned "big ag" interests such as Farm Bureau, pork producers' associations, beef producers' associations, and corn and soybean growers' associations as possible collaborators. "I am very inspired to give this a whirl with two groups of ag types I am working with." Others said they were now considering, but had never partnered with entities such as elected officials, city planners, or economic development agencies, councils, or banks. Segments of the health sector such as hospitals and public health agencies also emerged as potential partners in moving sustainable agriculture work forward collectively. Regional Workshop Structure and Format The way in which training is delivered can impact reported outcomes. Evaluating the process and design of knowledge building can provide us with clues about impacts we measure. In light of this, we asked specific questions about characteristics of the workshop and how important each one was in contributing to learning outcomes or connecting participants to resources. Table 8 shows that for all the workshop structure and format questions asked in the post-test survey, roughly 3 in 4 participants felt each component was important (rating it either a "4" or "5" which have been combined in the far right column). Most notably, results show that 9 in 10 participants feel the experiences of the facilitators and discussants were critical for helping them understand the structure and function of working groups and options for creating new ones. Nearly the same percentage viewed the dialogue and interaction with fellow participants as a contribution to their learning. Next Steps for Regional Participants When we asked the regional participants an open-ended question about any actions they were planning to take as a result of attending the workshop, nearly one-third (29 percent) answered the question. That one in three participants was able to articulate concrete ideas about how to use information learned in the workshop immediately after its delivery demonstrates to some degree the relevance of the curriculum as well as the contemplative nature of participants. Of those who did respond, 20 percent expressed an interest in forming new working groups; however, the majority (47 percent) expressed an interest in using what they learned to reconfigure and optimize the performance of groups with whom they are already working. "I am going to [try to] reconfigure local working groups, share with food system council members, and work more on documentation." Still others said they were rethinking leadership in terms of how to better engage local and regional interests in their work. Next Steps for the Project It is generally expected that changes in knowledge lead to changes in attitudes, both of which are apparent from the post-workshop quantitative survey data. Qualitative data gleaned from open-ended questions confirm this claim. As one respondent remarked, the knowledge she learned in the workshop changed her attitudes about working groups. "I came with no knowledge of working groups. I thought of them more like socialism--now I see them as democratic." The training appears to have created a more accepting environment for using CoPs as a model for working with varied partners. In addition and as already noted in the discussion on the pilot workshop, the regional workshop gave participants with a common language that provided clarity about the way some participants say they are already working. "[The workshop] was a wonderful idea. It blended learning about the concept of Communities of Practice in a setting where we were immediately able to apply it--perhaps to what we are already doing." However, there is still work to be done. As some participants noted, they want to see more discussion of "tacit knowledge" associated with working group formation and maintenance and more guidance on trouble shooting problems and finding funding to support working groups. This is valuable information since the CoP workshop was one of the first several steps over a two-year period to assist Extension, agency and non-profit educators and researchers in the North Central Region in using CoPs or working groups to address issues in sustainable agriculture and food systems. The second step of the process is to hold a series of conference calls to network and support interested workshop participants as they develop CoPs of their own. To prepare for this, we asked workshop participants what they wanted to learn more about. This information will allow us to better target future efforts on items of the greatest and most intense interest (Table 9). The topic that aroused the most interest among participants was funding a working group (87.5 percent agreed they wanted to learn more about funding), followed by branding and conditions for success when selecting a working group. Given the obvious desire for more learning, we also queried participants about their interest in participating in future conference calls. Eighty-five percent (or 41 out of 48) said they were interested, all of whom were willing to connect on a quarterly basis. One in three was willing to connect by phone on a monthly basis. About half (52 percent; n=44) said they were interested in one or more individual phone consultations with members of the Value Chain Partnerships team. Participants were most interested in phone consultations with the: • Regional Food Systems Working Group (57 percent ) • Fruit and Vegetable Working Group (22 percent ) • Grass-Based Livestock Working Group (13 percent ) • Branding consultant (9 percent ) • Evaluator or any CoP Facilitator (8 percent ) • Pork Niche Market Working Group (4 percent ) The first conference call was held on August 11, garnering participation from 17 people located around the region and seven members of the SARE CoP training team. Call participants were asked to discuss one priority CoP topic area they wanted the most help with and how they wanted that help to be delivered (e.g., one-on-one consultation with VCP or others in network, group discussion, addition to resource guide, webinar, etc.) The other topic of discussion was use of the social networking site developed for this group, available at http://communitiesofpractice.ning.com/. The Ning site was developed to supplement the face-to-face and phone interactions and provide a forum for those interested in CoPs to communicate in an asynchronous learning environment. The site was developed partially in response to the regional pre-test survey results which show that half (49 percent) of the respondents said they currently participate in electronic social networking sites to inform their work (n=50), the majority of whom (72 percent; n=25) said that these sites were "somewhat valuable." One in four (24 percent) reported these sites were "quite" or "very" valuable. With this in mind, the CoP training team led by the Leopold Center created the above-referenced Ning site to provide participants access to print and social resources to support the creation and maintenance of food and agriculture related CoPs. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The CoP training, made possible through a grant from the SARE Professional Development Program, was attended by 106 Extension, non-profit, government agency, university, farmer, and farm-related business representatives from each of the 12 states in the North Central Region, as well as states on each of the coasts. For both the pilot (held specifically for Extension staff) and the regional workshops, Extension Service staff had a strong presence although non-profits were better represented at the July regional meeting. Women were the largest group in attendance at both the pilot and regional workshops. Their strong presence, leadership, and interest in the working group model have implications for future strategies that will require a deep level of collaboration to accomplish goals in sustainable agriculture. According to results from the surveys, the workshops succeeded in moving the project forward in terms of increasing the capacity of individuals and organizations in the north central states to initiate, manage, fund, and brand working groups to further work in sustainable agriculture. Presentations and discussions, participant interaction, and training materials developed for the workshops helped make explicit tacit knowledge of the training group. This contributed to increasing participants' confidence in forming and managing CoPs, provided ideas on how to fund a CoP, and brought to the forefront important skills and qualities needed to create and maintain a successful CoP. Statistics show that the workshop increased participants' familiarity with the CoP concept, increased awareness about CoP benefits, and increased regional participants' attitudes about their viability as a way to help their respective organizations achieve their goals. Participants also believe that CoPs can help their respective organizations work more efficiently and can connect them to people and communities they serve. Results from the regional workshop also show a jump in participants' interest in forming a CoP as a result of the workshop, suggesting that participants in the region are looking to take on leadership roles in developing and supporting CoPs. The workshop also prepared participants to organize and facilitate a CoP in their area of expertise and positively impacted participants' attitudes about the capacity of their organization to create and facilitate a CoP (Extension staff cuts and restructuring notwithstanding). The surveys clearly showed that participants believed and continue to believe that building capacity to support CoP development necessarily involves partnering with other organizations to help them access and maximize use of important additional resources. Conservative estimates show participating individuals and organizations from the region reported partnering with an average of 11 groups in the past two years to further work in sustainable agriculture. These data suggest that these groups already are philosophically aligned with the working group approach and, therefore, are poised to take it one step further. An additional contribution of the workshop is its role in prompting participants to consider using the CoP model with new groups and groups with whom they are already partnering. In terms of new groups, besides the "choir" groups such as local food interests, more than a handful mentioned they were now considering working with "big ag" such as Farm Bureau, pork producers' associations, beef producers' associations, and corn and soybean growers' associations. Capacity building means not only building bridges with unlikely partners in industry, but also intentionally localizing decision making to better engage a wide variety of stakeholders at the community level. As one participant put it, "[We will] continue to move forward and give up more ownership of projects to communities [as a result of the workshop]." The Leopold Center will continue to engage and support individuals and organizations in the region interested in implementing the working group model. The Center will hold regular conference calls on topics participants themselves identify, host the social networking Ning site, provide consulting services one-on-one as requested, convene a second meeting in fall or early winter of 2010-2011 to continue the process of learning and discovery, and jointly reflect on the results of the two-year journey together. After only one year, we have measured benefits this project has provided to participating individuals and groups; but, it is difficult at this point to measure the extent to which it has benefited individuals and groups not participating in the workshops. However, we expect that as time elapses and participants start to put some of the CoP concepts into practice, evaluation activities in Year 2 will demonstrate the impact of using this model to build the capacity of multiple stakeholders involved in sustainable agriculture to maximize their impacts by working together with others. Over time, we will start to see impacts that will reach farmers and consumers through increased opportunities to create and consume farm products and services that contribute to the triple bottom line goals of creating environmental, social, and financial good.