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

    Proposal abstract:

    The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) requested $98,782 from the Western Sustainable Agriculture and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program to support the revision and dissemination of proven teaching tools for extension personnel and other agricultural educators, along with targeted hands-on trainings in the use of these materials in California, Oregon, and Washington. As the popularity of small- and medium-scale organic and sustainable farming increases—especially amongst new farmers and market gardeners—those involved in serving producers through efforts such the USDA’s Beginning Farming and Rancher Development Program, college and university-based training programs, and traditional cooperative extension programs will need comprehensive, quality teaching resources. With this project we seek to improve agricultural education and extension professionals’ knowledge, skills, and ability to effectively educate farmers interested in sustainable and organic agriculture. CASFS has a long history of training organic farmers and developing teaching resources through its Apprenticeship organic training program. In response to the many requests from other agricultural professionals for a teaching resource based on the Apprenticeship, CASFS formalized the program’s curriculum into two instructional manuals: Teaching Organic Farmers & Gardeners: Resources for Instructors (published in 2003) and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors (2005). Both are available at cost (in print) and for free from the internet at, and are featured educational resources on many websites including SARE’s “Curriculum for Educators” Website page. Although popular and in widespread use, these two instructional resources need to be updated, revised, and expanded to be optimally effective. As with the original manuals, the development of the revised manuals will involve unit writers, reviewers, and advisors from Cooperative Extension, NRCS, UC Davis, OSU, WSU, and many other colleges, universities, and agriculture education programs, along with our long-time farm and horticulture instructors. To increase their impact, the dissemination of the revised manuals will be coupled with outreach and training sessions in the three-state region to reach agricultural professionals who can deliver this information to producers. This project will create excellent new teaching tools that will be maintained as free online resources well beyond the project period, aiding educators in the teaching of organic and sustainable agriculture across the western states and nationally for years to come. Direct Marketing & Small Farm Viability Training Manual Description & Table of Contents Organic Farmer Training Manual Description & Table of Contents

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will result in online and print teaching resources for sustainable agriculture education and on-farm training for a wide range of audiences. The objectives and performance targets for this project, include the following:

    • Reach over 1,000 educators with mailed and online information about the manuals in 2014 and attract another 1,000 to view the manuals from links on other web sites such as, Start2Farm (National Agricultural Library’s new clearinghouse for beginning farmer information), SARE, and other sites serving educators and producers by 2015.
    •  Disseminate the new manuals online and in print to over 2000 users by 2015 (through the distribution of 100 review copies, the sale of 400 hard copies, and over 1500 complete or partial downloads from the Web.)
    •  Train 300 extension personnel and other educators in the three-state region through five one-day trainings, five conference presentations, and two webinars by 2015. 
    • Build in evaluation of project by tracking downloads of the materials from the UC eScholarship and CASFS websites, surveying those using the manuals, and collecting evaluations from those attending training workshops for project assessment by 2016.
    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.