Teaching Seasonally-Based and Culturally-Centered Sustainable Agriculture Curriculum to Tribal Educators

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Richard Monette
University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • Agronomic: clovers, corn, grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), hay, medics/alfalfa, oats, peas (field, cowpeas), rice
  • Fruits: apples, berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), berries (other)
  • Vegetables: sweet corn, Squash and pumpkins
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine, goats, Buffalo
  • Miscellaneous: syrup


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, feed management, free-range, grazing management, grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, inoculants, livestock breeding, manure management, meat processing, meat processing facilities, meat product quality/safety, mineral supplements, parasite control, pasture renovation, pasture fertility, processing regulations, range improvement, rangeland/pasture management, stocking rate, stockpiled forages, winter forage
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, alley cropping, beekeeping, conservation tillage, continuous cropping, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, drought tolerance, fertilizers, food processing, food processing facilities/community kitchens, food product quality/safety, forest farming, forestry, forest/woodlot management, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, irrigation, low tunnels, multiple cropping, no-till, nurseries, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, plant breeding and genetics, pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health, postharvest treatment, row covers (for season extension), season extension, seed saving, shade cloth, silvopasture, strip tillage, stubble mulching, varieties and cultivars, water management, water storage, windbreaks, winter storage, zone till
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, technical assistance, workshop, youth education
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, renewable energy, solar energy
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, business planning, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, farm succession, financial management, grant making, labor/employment, land access, marketing management, new enterprise development, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, drift/runoff buffers, grass waterways, habitat enhancement, hedgerows, hedges - grass, hedges - woody, riparian buffers, soil stabilization, strip cropping, wetlands, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control, competition, cultivation, flame, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, mulches - general, smother crops, weeder geese/poultry
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, aquaponics, dryland farming, holistic management, hydroponics, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, organic certification, permaculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil quality/health, toxic status mitigation
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, community planning, community services, employment opportunities, food hubs, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, partnerships, public participation, public policy, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, values-based supply chains

    Proposal abstract:

    The project is targeted toward Tribal agricultural, food, and cultural educators in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest Regions.  These educators include Tribal program and non-profit staff, state extension staff, and other professionals providing education and support to Tribal communities, including community-based educators.

    The outcomes of this project include:

    • Development and implementation of culturally-based education curriculum that will be available online but also hosted in-person when feasible
    • Building increased capacity for existing educators to effectively teach essential skills within community settings
    • Incorporation of appropriate cultural perspectives in educational curriculum.  Most standard curriculum is not structured from Tribal perspectives and therefore is not engaging to most Tribal members.
    • Creation of on online learning and networking platform allowing content creation from users.  This platform will continue beyond the grant period

    The first year will focus on planning and curriculum development with monthly online trainings for Tribal educators beginning in fall 2020.  Given current challenges of in-person meetings, mosts work activity will be conducted remotely in the first year.  Years two and three will feature in-person seasonally-focused workshops with hands-on education that will be recorded and compiled into virtual content.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will create a virtual library of educational curriculum available to Tribal educators in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest Region.  Much of that content will be new material developed through the hands-on workshops and other content-generation activities with partners, and some of the content will be compilations of existing resources developed for Tribal communities and the general public.  Development of this information clearinghouse will be an enormous asset to Tribal agricultural educators and their communities who often struggle to find culturally-relevant material.

    Wisconsin is the designated host state, but this project is really a regional effort stretching across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region that stretches from the Dakotas to New York.  Conservatively, this project aims to engage Tribal educators from 30 Tribes with an average of 2 educators from each Tribe.  Those 60 educators will in turn impact an average of 10 community members for a total reach of 600 directly impacted participants.  While these estimated numbers are high, the actual impact will likely be much larger because there is a huge demand for these type of resources, as illustrated by the 700 participants at last year's Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit.

    Existing partnerships will be strengthened through this project and new partnerships will be created as connections are expanded and the online learning and networking platform facilitates improved ability connect with one another.

    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.