A Consortium-Based Sustainable Agriculture Training Program (SATP) Curriculum Plan

1995 Annual Report for EW95-015

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1995: $20,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1997
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $16,875.00
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sean Swezey
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food System

A Consortium-Based Sustainable Agriculture Training Program (SATP) Curriculum Plan



1) Organize a sustainable agriculture curriculum plan in a format pertinent to the training needs of University Cooperative Extension, USDA, and other appropriate extension agency personnel.

2) Develop a consortium list of experts with sustainable agriculture training and teaching experience comprised of CASFS affiliates, Cooperative Extension and USDA personnel, farmers and agricultural professionals, and consultants.

3) Conduct, with additional funds, trainings involving seminars and direct field experience with sustainable agricultural systems, utilizing the curriculum plan for the intended audience.


The consortium-based Sustainable Agriculture Training Program (SATP) curriculum plan at the University of California, Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) is comprised of nine modular units on topics selected from priority subjects and clientele cited in the 1995 California Statewide Plan for Professional Development and In-Service Education in Sustainable Agriculture, coordinated by the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Davis.

Each module (designed for periodic review and updating) consists of a brief referenced introduction and a topical outline (to focus seminar or training discussion), whole-farm case studies guide and citations, practicum/field training exercises where relevant, and information, networking and literature/media. A list of consortium members with expertise as seminar or training leaders is also included.

A Consortium-based Sustainable Agriculture Training Program at CASFS offers a modular (each module can stand alone in a training) plan for training for Cooperative Extension (CE) advisors and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field staff (and their colleagues and clients) who have not had previous in-depth exposure to the concepts, production practices, economics, public advocacy, or market environment of sustainable agriculture in California. The training Program plan is designed to introduce: 1) definitions and concepts of sustainable agriculture, 2) theory and practice of sustainable agricultural production and/or production for transitional and certified organic markets, 3) demonstrate the agronomic and economic feasibility of sustainable farming technologies in a series of on-farm, whole-systems examples from the production community, and 4) introduce trainees to literature, information networks, media, and other sources of information, especially in the form of the SATP Consortium, as mentor-trainers and advanced information sources in sustainable agriculture.

Potential Benefits

The CASFS SATP plan is designed to allow trainees the following:

1. Understand the modern principles and practices of agricultural sustainability, the interaction between agriculture and the environment, and the importance of protecting resource quality, wildlife, human health and ecological balance in agricultural systems.

2. Understand how sustainable agriculture farmers function as entrepreneurs in a competitive environment, including the concepts of risk management in an increasingly regulated environment; and understand the comparative agronomic and economic differences between sustainable, transitional, or organic production systems and conventional production and marketing systems.

3. Understand technical management principles and production practices characteristic of sustainable production, including practical approaches to biologically-based soil and plant fertility, composts and other amendments, biorational pest management, machinery, inputs, and equipment, and processing, quality control, and marketing.

4. Understand how to access research results, information sources, practical guidelines, production systems examples, and mentor-trainers from multiple information sources in the sustainability movement.

This summary was prepared by the project coordinator for the 1998 reporting cycle.