Developing and Disseminating Legal Issues Curricula to Educators Who Assist Sustainable Farmers

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2013: $70,714.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: melons, apples, apricots, berries (other), berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, quinces, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, lentils, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, goats, rabbits, swine, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: decision support system, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, marketing management, value added, agritourism
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, urban/rural integration


    In year two of this project  we worked with Ann Williams to conduct surveys of farmer training program facilitators and learned about out how they integrated the materials into their programming.

    In year one of the project we  researched, created, and delivered legal issues curricula to agricultural educators and service providers in Illinois. The core target audience of this project were the organizers, presenters, and facilitators of farmer training programs aimed at sustainable farmers. With our consultant at Farm Commons, attorney Rachel Armstrong, we successfully held training workshops at four locations in Illinois (Springfield, Champaign, Carbondale and Grayslake) in September 2014. Our other main deliverable for the first year of the grant period was a complete Legal Issues curriculum guide for our audience, which was distributed to all participants at the workshops, and then placed on The Land Connection’s website with additional video resources in October 2014.

    Project objectives:

    1. 90% of the 120 (minimum) educators and service providers who attend the workshops will increase their knowledge of legal issues affecting sustainable farmers, and will be more motivated to seek opportunities to help farmers to proactively address legal issues.
    2. At least 2500 unique visitors will access the online materials and resources in the first 6-9 months
    3. At least 12 educators will integrate the legal curriculum or reference materials in their professional activities with colleagues and clients in training peers, advising clients, delivering presentations or when authoring articles, fact sheets and web pages.

    Workshops were offered in September 2014 at five Illinois sites: Springfield, Champaign, Carbondale and Grayslake. Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons presented the material.  A total of 60 persons participated.

    An online evaluation was conducted at the close of the last workshop, and an online follow-up evaluation was conducted in late March 2015. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess:

    • The format and presentation of the workshop
    • The curriculum
    • The level of legal knowledge gained by participants (pre/post measurement)
    • The effectiveness of online legal resources provided
    • Application of knowledge acquired from the workshops

    Fifteen participants (15) completed the post-course evaluation and 16 completed the follow-up evaluation. The results of the two evaluations are summarized below. Tabulations of individual question and responses to open-ended questions are included in the Appendices at the end of this report.

    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.