Training Manuals and Professional Development Activities for Teaching Organic Farming and Marketing

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $98,782.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Daniel Press
University of California Santa Cruz
Ann Lindsey
University of California Santa Cruz

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples, berries (other), berries (blueberries), pears, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes


  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, farm-to-institution
  • Pest Management: biological control
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture


    TOFG-book announcement-form

    TDM-book announcement-form

    We are incredibly grateful for the support from Western SARE for the project entitled “Training Manuals and Professional Development Activities for Teaching Organic Farming and Marketing” at the UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). As described in this final report, the project has successfully resulted in the publication of two expanded and revised instructional manuals both in print and online, along with outreach and dissemination to increase the use of the manuals across western states.

    In 2012 CASFS initiated a major effort to update and expand its two instructional manuals that were developed ten years ago and are now used worldwide. The original books, entitled Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors (TOFG) and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors (TDM), contained  more than 1000 pages of teaching tools organized in 24 units, including lecture outlines, demonstration outlines, assessment questions, case studies, and student readings.

    We completed the publication of the two revised and expanded instructional manuals and have made them available as free resources online (and at cost in print). To raise awareness about the manuals and to train agriculture educators in the use of the manuals we have broadly advertised the manuals and have presented webinars, conference workshops, and trainings in 2015 and 2016.  

    The goal of this project has been to revise, update, and expand CASFS teaching resources for organic farming and gardening, and to make these resources broadly accessible as free online teaching tools. The project was much more comprehensive and ambitious than originally conceived, with every unit revised, new units developed, narrative supplements written, appendices added, resource sections expanded, and PowerPoint presentations created for many units. For this reason it took longer to reach publication than anticipated, but both manuals were completed in the first half of 2015.

    To expand the reach of these new manuals, we devoted considerable planning and resources to dissemination, outreach, and training. The goal for dissemination and downloading of the manuals has been nationwide, with the focus of the initial outreach on western states. To complete the dissemination, outreach, and training phase of the project as comprehensively as planned, we requested and received an extension to June 30, 2016. Through conference presentations, webinars, and small group training sessions we have directly trained 371 educators in the use of the manuals. Online usage tracking shows the two manuals have reached over 12,300 users and over 200 print copies have been distributed as review copies or sold to educators across the nation.  Outreach has continued beyond the project period, and will continue to be part of our conference offerings and other outreach to aid expanded use of these excellent teaching resources.

    Project objectives:

    The objectives and performance targets for this project assumed the completion of the revision and production of manuals in 2014, but instead they were completed in 2015. While the curriculum was published in print and online in the spring of 2015, an extension was requested and granted to complete the outreach objectives by June 2016. The Objectives/Performance Targets included in the proposal and in our Project Overview remained in place for our work in 2013 through 2016 as outlined below:

    • Reach over 1,000 educators with mailed and online information about the manuals in 2015 and attract another 1,000 to view the manuals from links on other websites serving educators and producers by the June 30, 2016.
    • Disseminate the new manuals online and in print to over 2000 users by June 2016.
    • Train 300 extension personnel and other educators in the three-state region through five train-the-trainer sessions, five conference presentations, and two webinars by the end of June 2016.
    • Build in evaluation of the project by tracking downloads of the materials from the UC eScholarship and CASFS websites, surveying those using the manuals, and collecting workshop evaluations.
    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.