Expanding Opportunities for Sustainable Small Farm Specialty Crop Producers: Training Educators in Feasibility Analysis, Marketing, and Community Building

2015 Annual Report for ENC12-131

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $74,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Glenn Muske
North Dakota State University

Expanding Opportunities for Sustainable Small Farm Specialty Crop Producers: Training Educators in Feasibility Analysis, Marketing, and Community Building


This report covers that final year of our project. Overall the team is very pleased with the outcomes. During the year, projects were completed by some of the team members. Additional projects were funded, some to existing participants and a few to new participants. The capacity to have a fourth meeting greatly added to the feeling of accomplishment among all of the participants with many looking ahead towards continued effort along with future projects.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. This project aims to expand the background, increase the skills and provide a toolbox to those individuals often called upon to answer the questions of the individual expressing the desire to meet the local food demand. Educators will feel more equipped and motivated to work with the small farm specialty crop producer.

  • A resource list for small farms and farm diversification was developed and put on a dedicated portion of the NDSU Extension Small Business website. Also a listserv for the participants, and other interested individual, was developed early in the grant and continues to distribute information as well as updates on the projects themselves.

 2. To reinforce the skills acquired and to ensure continued project activity, participants will agree to implement local programming that will enhance/expand local foods understanding, use and production either through individual efforts or teams.

  • In total 25 local projects were funded. Two projects were not started but all of the rest contributed in some way to the enhancement and expansion of ND local foods.



The timeline for 2015 called for:

  • September, 2015 – Final online survey to study program process and effectiveness and to assess impact and efficiency.
  • September, 2015 – Final mini-grant reports due
  • October-November, 2015 – Conduct interviews with selected educators and program participants. Finalize evaluation and reports.

All items were covered. As budgeted funding allowed for a fourth meeting, the evaluation and final report session was modified somewhat. In addition to written reports, projects were asked to provide material for a Powerpoint presentation (link to presentation), to highlight for the entire group, outlining all that was accomplished.


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impacts and outcomes were assessed both from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Another part of the meeting was participation in a ripple mapping exercise to evaluate the reach of the projects (reports attached) – collaboration on Promo Leadership for Local Foods Student Ag Day Town Square FM ).  In addition, more quantitative impact data was also gathered and can be found in the attached report (2015 impact report).

The program and its accomplishments has been disseminated both within the state and outside at:

  • ND 2015 Extension conference
  • North Central SARE tour held in ND in 2015
  • North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association Annual meeting
  • 2015 National Extension Tourism Conference
  • 2015 Community Development Society Conference

It was also included in NDSU Extension publications and reports.


Dr. Abby Gold

Assistant Professor
North Dakota State University
351 EML
Dept of Food and Nutrition
Fargo, ND 58105
Office Phone: 7012317478