“The Third Tuesday-Thursday Thing”: Building on Kentucky’s Experiences and Expanding the Sustainable Agriculture Educational Model into Tennessee

2003 Annual Report for ES01-052

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $50,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Marion Simon
Kentucky State University

“The Third Tuesday-Thursday Thing”: Building on Kentucky’s Experiences and Expanding the Sustainable Agriculture Educational Model into Tennessee

Summary

The “Third Thursday Thing” was initiated in 1997 as a Southern SARE-PDP project to educate agricultural professionals about such issues and topics. Immediately after the program started, farmers, consumer groups, and the public clambered to be included. “Third Thursdays” then
became shared learning experiences that emphasized hands-on learning experiences. A unique quality of the training is that it occurs monthly at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm so that the participants view the progression of the crops, forages, and livestock on the farm. The KSU Research and Demonstration Farm is uniquely designed in that the farm’s original design included a focus on sustainable agriculture, the farm has a certified organic section, and each research project includes a demonstrational aspect for use in training farmers. Topics feature sustainable agriculture principles, alternative farm enterprises and production systems (over 70 have been taught),
alternative marketing and distribution systems, USDA and state agency programs, farm
management and record-keeping, beneficial insects, farm walks so that participants can see the natural progression of the crops, forages, bees, fish, and livestock, andf local food production and marketing systems. As a result of the program, farmers are directly involved in Extension and research activities and programming. “Third Thursdays” have had participants from over 100 Kentucky counties, eight European nations, and twelve states ranging from the east to the west coasts. In 2001, the program was expanded to add the Tennessee State University “Third Tuesday” Workshop series. In 2003, “Third Thursdays” was selected as the recommended model program for Southern SARE-PDP to be expanded across the Southern region. Additionally, the “Third Thursday” program has been nationally recognized as a model program by the USDA Risk Management Agency, the USDA-CSREES Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the USDA-CSREES Small Farm Program. As a part of these efforts, kentucky State University offerred a Small Farm Festival (biennial state field day) in 2003 with about 400 in attendance and Tennessee State University offerred their First Small Farm Statewide Field Day in 2003 with over 200 in attendance.

Success stories:

– Kentucky’s House Bill 391 was passed to provide a system for home based processing and local food marketing.

– The Partners for Family Farms was formed to influence and expand local food initiatives, local food marketing systems, and value-added local meat marketing. Partners include farmers,
consumers, the League of Urban Cities, the Kentucky Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, Berea College, and Heifer Project, Intl.

– The Organic Kentucky Producers Association, an African American operated c.s.a., was formed.
These eight families sell organic foods over a 70 mile area. Three members are now qualified as “train-the-trainers” in organic agriculture and have presented their c.s.a. as a model at the Southern and Northeast SAWG Annual Meetings.

– Kentucky State University through its farmer outreach programs has the largest annual
delegation to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Workers Conference.

– Extension agents and small farm assistance indicate an increased knowledge of sustainable
agriculture, increased numbers of organic and reduced input production systems, increased
numbers of farmer’s markets, and increased numbers of value-added processing in the state.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. To educate 1862 and 1890 research and Extension professionals and paraprofessionals about sustainable agriculture with a particular emphasis on small farms. Behavior change: An increased awareness and acceptance of the practicality of sustainable agriculture which is reflected through their recommendations.
2. To educate 1862 and 1890 research and Extension professionals and paraprofessionals about practical uses of organic agriculture with a particular emphasis on small farms. Behavior change: An increased awareness of the practicality of organic agriculture for selected enterprises. An acceptance of organic and alternative production techniques and a willingness to make recommendations to producers.
3. To educate 1862 and 1890 research and Extension professionals and paraprofessionals about alternative marketing systems and new farm enterprises with a particular emphasis on small farms. Behavior change: An increased acceptance of alternatives to tobacco and alternative marketing systems within the land grand field staff. Recommendations to farmers reflect these changes.
4. To educate farmer leaders, USDA, and agricultural professionals including state government departments about sustainable agriculture and organic agriculture with a particular emphasis on small farms. Behavior change: An increased awareness and acceptance of the practicality of sustainable agriculture and organic agriculture which is reflected in their recommendations and activities. An increased emphasis on programs that targetsmall farms and diverse farmer clientele.
5. To foster shared learning experiences between agricultural professionals and farmers. Behavior changes: Researchers, Extension staff, and agricultural professionals strengthen their farmer support base. Researchers develop a direct link to the farming community for developing problem-solving, applied research projects to meet the needs identified by the farmers. A strengthened inter-agency, interdisciplinary, inter-organization support base which can be drawn upon by agricultural professionals and paraprofessionals, particularly field staff. Strengthened professional interactions and ties between Kentucky and Tennessee which includes the fostering of joint activities.

Accomplishments/Milestones

In 2003, KSU “Third Thursdays” had 663 in attendance at 10 monthly workshops, plus approximately 400 at the State Small Farm Festival (Biennial Field Day). Of these, over 300 were agricultural professionals. The TSU
“Third Tuesdays” had over 150 in attendance with over half being agricultural professionals. The First TSU Small Farm Field Day had over 200 in attendance.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Kentucky State University “Third Thursdays” had participants from over 70 Kentucky counties, four European
nations, and twelve states ranging from the east to the west coasts. The Tennessee State University “Third Tuesday” Workshop series had participants from three states and 20 Tennessee counties. In 2003,“Third Thursdays” was selected as the recommended model program for Southern SARE-PDP to be expanded across the Southern region. Additionally, the “Third Thursday” program has been nationally recognized as a model program by the USDA Risk Management Agency, the USDA-CSREES Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the USDA-CSREES Small Farm Program.

Success stories:

– Kentucky’s House Bill 391 was passed to provide a system for home based processing and local direct marketing of value-added food products after a Kentucky state legislator attended a workshop and learned about certified kitchens.

– The Partners for Family Farms was formed during a “Third Thursday” several years ago. They now have members from the League of Urban Cities, the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, Berea College, the Kentucky Department of Health and Human Services, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, farmers, consumer groups, Heifer Project, Intl., and other organizations working together to influence and expand local food initiatives, local food marketing systems, and value-added local meat marketing.

– The Organic Kentucky Producers Association, an African American operated c.s.a., was formed as a result of “Third Thursdays”. This c.s.a. now sell organic foods over a 70 mile area. They have been spokesmen for sustainable agriculture and c.s.a.’s at the Southern and Northeast region SAWG Annual Meetings. Three members have received “train-the-trainer” education on organic agriculture.

– Kentucky State University through its farmer outreach programs has the largest annual
delegation to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Workers Conference, 47 attended in 2003.

– Extension agents and small farm assists indicate an increased knowledge of sustainable
agriculture, increased numbers of organic and reduced input production systems, increased
numbers of farmer’s markets, and increased numbers of value-added processing in the state.

– In 2003, KSU “Third Thursdays” had 663 in attendance at 10 monthly workshops, plus approximately 400 at the State Small Farm Festival (Biennial Field Day). Of these, over 300 were agricultural professionals. The TSU
“Third Tuesdays” had over 150 in attendance with over half being agricultural professionals. The First TSU Small Farm Field Day had over 200 in attendance.

Collaborators:

Richard Winston

TN State U.
TN 37209