“The Third Tuesday-Thursday Thing”: Building on Kentucky’s Experiences and Expanding the Sustainable Agriculture Educational Model into Tennessee
Small farms need to be become more sustainable. Sustainable agricultural practices must be socially acceptable, environmentally friendly, economically feasible, and profitable for farming to continue into the future. Key components of sustainable agriculture are alternative farming methods, marketing, production, management, environmental awareness, enterprise diversification, and social sustainability. Traditional and non-traditional farmers need to be aware of sustainable production systems and to incorporate them into their farming enterprises. This is particularly important as agriculture is a major contributor to non-point source pollution and rural water quality concerns.
Kentucky State University along with Tennessee through a grant from the USDA-Southern SARE-PDP provided educational projects that were successfully developed throughout the year. Tennessee State had 8 workshops including Agro Forestry, Horticulture, Agriblilty (Farmers with Disabilities,agronomic crops and Weed Management. Kentucky State University had 11 such workshops including Nutrition and Food Safety, Aquaculture, Nutrient and Management Workshop, and Goat Day which involved over a total of 350 farmers, county agents and extension specialists. In addition to these monthly workshops, KSU has hosted two all commodity field days in the areas of sustainable agriculture. In November of 2002, the third annual Small Farmers Conference was held with an attendance of over 200. Exhibitors from various USDA agencies were on hand to answer questions.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
35 new African American Farmers regularly attended the workshops. These farmers were not previously actively involved.
85 farmers with disabilities were educated through the workshops.
200 farmers improved their goat management including forage and feedings from attending the goat day workshops.
Through these workshops and trainings, 1300 farmers, 150 county agents, 50 NRCS, 40 Kentucky Department of Agriculture, 40 Extension Specialists both from Kentucky State University and University of Kentucky, 10 Government Agriculture Policy personnel, 25 USDA including FSA/RD, 4 Legislative Research Commission and 2 Kentucky Legislatures were in attendance have incorporated practices learned from these workshops and trainings. Kentucky State University has had 40 farmers and 75 county agents that were involved in the training sessions. Tennessee had 200 farmers and 25 extension specialists involved.