Expanding Opportunities for Community-Based Educational Programs in Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $98,143.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $13,193.00
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Cinda Williams
University of Idaho Extension

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals


  • Animal Production: free-range, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, multiple cropping, nutrient cycling, application rate management
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, mentoring, networking
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, feasibility study, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, economic threshold, integrated pest management, physical control, row covers (for pests), sanitation, trap crops, traps
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, analysis of personal/family life, community services


    This project developed and distributed an integrated set of educational curricula and outreach materials focused on innovative approaches for teaching sustainable agriculture. Forty agricultural professionals attended one of three workshops on the Cultivating Success small farms educational program. Two immersion field courses challenged over 20 agricultural professionals to broaden their perspectives on sustainability in agriculture food systems. Workshop and field class participants indicated increased knowledge about sustainable agricultural systems and enhanced capacity to establish meaningful, experiential, and community-based programs in sustainable small acreage farming. About half of those trained have taught or assisted in one of 10 new course offerings.

    Project objectives:

    The overall goal of the Cultivating Success program is to increase the number of economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable small acreage farms and ranches in the Washington and Idaho. To advance this long-term outcome, this project focused on the following objectives:

    1)Increase agricultural professional’s knowledge of concepts and issues related to a sustainable food system and the role that sustainable small acreage producers play in that system
    2)Develop and effectively disseminate an integrated set of sustainable small acreage farming and ranching educational materials to increase the number of sustainable small acreage farming programs
    3)Increase the capacity of agricultural professionals to establish meaningful, experiential, and community-based programs in sustainable small acreage farming and ranching
    4)Increase the local impacts of sustainable small acreage farming and ranching programs by providing on-going support and technical assistance to extension and other agricultural professionals.

    To accomplish these objectives, we have developed a complete curriculum package that was adopted by extension educators; provided workshops and course opportunities to broaden perspectives of the food system for extension educators; provided training and mentoring for extension educators; and provided materials and guidance to extension educators on how to help farmers to be effective teachers and mentors for on-farm apprentices.

    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.