A Youtube Series; An Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture for Growing Ecological Eaters

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2017: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 01/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Bertrand Farm
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Therese Zimmerman
Good Shepherd Montessori School


  • Nuts: chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, goats, rabbits, sheep, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, free-range, watering systems
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, compost extracts, mulches - killed, mulches - living, row covers (for pests), sanitation
  • Production Systems: permaculture, agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:


    Industrial agriculture and mono-culture farming is not sustainable. When including transportation the industrial farm model is a leader in the production of greenhouse gas emissions and linked to a host of environmental problems including climate change, pollution of wind air and water, water scarcity, soil erosion, nutrition deficit and disease to name a few. Ecological farming is the answer to these problems--that is the restoration of nature’s natural cycles in food production--food production that sinks carbon, limits waste and creates highly nutritious food. These systems are not new. The problem lies in growing and transforming the current broken system into a healthier one fast enough. It is the simple rule of supply and demand. We need more ecological farmers, yes, but even more, right now we need more ecological consumers to drive the demand. We lack compelling consumer education. We must get ecological farming education into all schools and universities. Joel Salatin said it best in a recent ACRES Article, Ecological Eating, February 2016, when addressing six key messages for consumer outreach, “Let’s be honest about the ethics and responsibilities of our movement and enjoin the eaters- not just the farmers- to appreciate the protocols of ecological eating”. If we do not start to better educate the eaters in our communities, the ecological farming movement will not grow at the pace needed. Our project focuses on the future population of eaters while they are still developing, to grow the demand for sustainable produced food. The fact is, if the consumer base for ecological eating grows, there are plenty of interested young farmers who will rise to meet the demand. They are just waiting.


    We can increase demand for ecological farming through education. Eaters need to understand what ecological farming is, what it looks like, how it works, where to find it and, most importantly, why to seek it out. We, the ecological farmers, are the best teachers of this subject. While it might not work for all farmers to get out there and teach a junior high or college class, some of us can (and while it is exciting and rewarding to share our knowledge and passion with the younger generations, teaching can also create another income stream for small farmers).This project proposes to create 14 Youtube videos, most 3-5 minutes in length, that will bring three local farms into the classroom. I have chosen 14 videos to correspond with the weeks in a typical semester class. This look at ecological farming on three levels of production, backyard, urban and small farm, and includes many best practices from each. The first video will be a general overview of eco-farming, 5-10 minutes, including introducing each of the three farms participating in the video series. The remaining 13 videos will be sequenced for individual use. The videos will be designed to engage students in a hands-on understanding of the importance of ecological eating, for both the consumer, the farmer and the environment. To ensure a quality presentation that includes as much information as possible in each video clip I will hire a videographer (interested in restoration agriculture) to do the filming and production. Interns and farm volunteers will be part of the cast as we spend one season collecting an abundance of film to create this series. Year two will be used to bridge any gaps in filming, to compile video, do reviews, final edits and outreach.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Grow the ecological eater/consumer population to support small farmer growth and insure a sustainable food system.
    2. Educate students who may not have any prior experience with farming about the workings of ecological farms.
    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.