Building Capacity in Organic AGriculture: An Integrated Approach to Training Agricultural Information Providers
Improve the knowledge, attitude and skills of agricultural professionals on organic growing; provide a comprehensive training and resource manual; establish demonstration sites; equip and motivate agricultural information providers and the Georgia Master Gardener Association to organize learning events and activities in organic agriculture to ensure the multiplier effect of this training; and develop links among agricultural information providers.
Major milestone involved updating the Georgia Organics Building Capacity in Organic Agriculture Resource Manual, with the most up-to-date information and resources for producers and agriculture professionals. The updated Resource Manuals have been received well by county extension agents. As the market demand for organic produce increases, more farmers are researching ways to transition to organic production, and their local county extension advisor is frequently one of the first contacts.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
During 2003, over 120 agricultural professionals attended workshops and training activities coordinated via GO workshops throughout the state. Although the workshops were funded primarily through RMA and EPA workshops, extension agents continue to look to Georgia Organics for the latest information and research available on organic growing.
Momentum from the Building Capacity Program led to a SARE funded farmer-research roundtable held in February 2003. Over 90 farmers, researchers and agricultural professionals gathered to identify issues critical to organic production in the Southeast.
Another impact of the Building Capacity Program led to a SARE-funded program to develop curriculum for extension agents and agriculture teachers to introduce students specifically to organic growing and markets. Georgia Organics attended the Georgia Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association Conference in July 2003 and set up a trade show booth. More than 40 educators signed our curriculum outreach and interest form. Georgia Organics will leverage these names to generate future interest and feedback in this program.
The bulk of the objectives for this project have been achieved through prior years activities. The remaining outstanding work will be to distribute Building Capacity manuals to Master Gardeners and Extension Agents throughout the State.