Whole Farm Planning for the 21st Century: Integrating childcare, healthcare, and health insurance into farm planning curriculum

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $119,837.00
Projected End Date: 10/01/2026
Grant Recipient: Ohio State University -OARDC
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Shoshanah Inwood
Ohio State University -OARDC


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, networking, study circle, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, financial management, whole farm planning
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    USDA and CDC research has established that childcare (CC), healthcare (HC), and health insurance (HI) impact farm economic development, risk management, and quality of life yet there are few educational resources covering these topics. This SARE PDP project will fill this gap by garnering the research and extension expertise of the project team to develop and train farm Educators to deliver farmer-ready multi-media modules and learning tools on the topics of CC, HC, and HI targeting young, beginning farmers and ranchers, women, and small and medium farmers. Using a train-the-trainer model and drawing on the best practices of adult learning we will design two modules and 21 learning tools designed to be accessible to visual, auditory, and experiential learners, including: facilitator guides; fact sheets defining key terms, planning worksheets; evaluation instruments, and case study teaching resources including a video and comic book. Open-access curriculum will be designed with whole farm planning pedagogy. We will train a cohort of 10 Educators to deliver the curriculum to 300 farmers in the North Central Region. These Educators will participate in a curriculum learning circle. We will train 210 Educators and disseminate the curriculum throughout the region through webinars, in-conference trainings, and an online resource library. Educators participating in the training will increase their knowledge, confidence, and ability to offer programs that address social sustainability issues and that sustain farming as a livelihood with the long-term goal of helping farmers increase productivity, sustainability, and quality of life. 

    Project objectives from proposal:


    Both farmer and train-the-trainer materials will include learning tools designed to be accessible to visual, auditory, and experiential learners. We will develop 21 evidenced based farmer-ready, open access resources that reflect farmer and educator needs and learning preferences, including: a facilitator guide; fact sheets defining key terms, individual farm planning worksheets; evaluation instruments; and a case study through which learners can practice using worksheets prior to using them for their own situations.


    Teaching resources in the form of one video and one illustrated case studies/comic book support module content. The facilitator guide will embed best adult learning practices, providing guidance and ideas for implementing these practices in the context of working with farm operators on business and lifestyle topics that can be both intensely personal and extremely challenging.


    Facilitator guide content will include clear learning outcomes; script templates; instructions for module set-up and use of the teaching resources; participant reflection activities; and time management. Evaluation templates will assess impact on changes in knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and intentions.


    The project team will recruit and train 10 NCR Extension and non-profit Educators to participate in a two-year learning circle cohort. Pippidis and Freedgood will draw on their extensive background organizing Train-the-Trainer events to lead the design of professional development programming to increase Educator capacity and confidence to deliver the materials this project has developed around CC, HC, and HI topics. We will target Educators who focus on farm business, whole farm planning, risk management, farm safety, family resource management, succession, land access, and those who work with women, BFRs, young, and small and medium farmers. The in-person training and facilitated learning circles will be designed to provide both professional development and build trusted relationships among the participants. We anticipate this Educators will each reach a minimum of 30 farmers across the two project years, producing 300 farmer pre-post data points.


    Rumble will design an accessible project website and online resource library to house all materials and resources developed as part of this project.


    Interactive professional development training on the curriculum will be delivered through four online interactive webinars in Project Years 2 and 3 (total of eight webinars) and will feature experiences of Educators who have delivered the modules. We anticipate 90 webinar participants each year for a total of 180 educators from a diverse set of organizational backgrounds participating across the two years.


    The team will travel to two conferences (TBD) in the North Central Region in Year 3 to present a half-day training, we anticipate 15 participants at each training (total of 30 participants).

    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.