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

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will research, create, and deliver legal issues curricula to agricultural educators and service providers
    in Illinois. The core target audience are the organizers, presenters, and facilitators of farmer training programs
    aimed at sustainable farmers, including University of Illinois and Extension personnel, community college
    instructors, and nonprofit sustainable agriculture personnel.
    The main outcomes of the project and their targets, are:
    - 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
    - at least 2500 unique visitors will access the online materials and resources in the first 6-9 months
    - 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.
    The main activities that will lead to these outcomes are:
    - research, survey, and interview educators to understand the current knowledge and practices regarding legal
    issues - use the information gleaned to develop a substantive and relevant legal issues curricula for educators
    - deliver the curricula to agricultural professionals so that they gain knowledge in both the content and how to
    deliver it. Professional development will be delivered through at least four full-day workshops, and via online
    - evaluate the legal issues curricula and delivery

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Our primary target audience are the agricultural professionals who are the organizers, presenters, and facilitators
    of the thirteen farmer training programs aimed at sustainable farmers in Illinois, which include The Land
    Connection, Angelic Organic Learning Center, the University of Illinois, Chicago High School for Agriculture, St.
    Charles Park District, College of Lake County, Farm Business Development Center, Loyola University, Black
    Oaks Center for Sustainability, Food Works, Prairie Fruits Farm, and Growing Home. These farmer training
    programs are administered by universities, community colleges, nonprofits, and University of Illinois and U of I
    Extension educators--and those people will be our primary target audience.
    We will also reach out to and engage the Illinois Migrant Council, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and NRCS
    personnel, providing for diversity among the participants for the proposed work. In addition, we will target
    sustainable farming nonprofit organizations that engage diverse participants, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, The
    Edible Economy Project, Spence Farm Foundation, and others.
    In order to ensure target audience participation, we are planning a robust outreach plan. We do not, however,
    anticipate that recruitment will be a major issue because our target audience is actively searching for legal
    education and resources. Farm Commons staff, Land Connection staff, and agricultural law staff at the University
    of Illinois consistently receive requests for materials and presentations to beginning farmer classes.
    We will establish a steering committee that consists of at least six people from the targeted farmer training
    programs, and will also engage IDOA, NRCS, Migrant Council, and Farm Bureau personnel involved in Small
    Farms and Local Food. These people will help us plan and execute the outreach and recruitment efforts, and
    ensure participation from their organization or program. Together with the steering committee, we will identify
    potential participants and encourage their involvement by doing targeted outreach to all sustainable farmer
    training programs in Illinois, and to related programs and organizations. Much of the outreach will be done
    through The Land Connection’s and our partners’ e-newsletters and social media tools

    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.