- Agronomic: corn, rye, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Vegetables: turnips
- Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - rotational, winter forage
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: extension, focus group, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, grass waterways, wildlife
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
- Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis
The motivation to use sustainable agriculture practices can come from seeing models of success. Through this project, we will develop a core curriculum addressing major concepts of sustainable agriculture (e.g., ecology, economics, and sociology), create an educational video, write lesson plans to supplement the materials, and provide resources via the Internet to increase producers and students’ understanding of sustainable practices and encourage producers to use sustainable practices. To develop the major concepts and educational approach, we will use data collected through interviews with 20 producers using sustainable practices on their farms in Illinois. The Department of Human and Community Development, with the Dudley Smith Initiative in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), will fund my assistantship. I will develop the content and approach for the educational resources and coordinate video production. Funding requested from SARE will cover video production expenses of ITCS (Information Technology and Communication Services), the communications unit of ACES. Extension Educators can use the video to explain and showcase sustainable practices and help farmers select and implement appropriate practices. The video will be available to high school teachers as they demonstrate the benefits of sustainable practices for future generations of agriculturists and consumers. Outcomes include farmers’ increased understanding of sustainable farming practices, clear and compelling examples of success in implementing sustainable strategies, and a forum to foster discussion among potential users of sustainable practices. The materials will be evaluated based upon usefulness in the field, applications in the classroom, and Illinois State Learning Standards.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project will: (1) Conduct participatory action research to understand the language, content and concepts, and educational approaches which we can use to effectively integrate information about sustainable agriculture into educational programs, and (2) develop multimedia educational resources using those approaches.