Developing Multimedia Resources for Educators in Informal and Formal Agricultural Education Settings

2004 Annual Report for GNC04-031

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2004: $9,950.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $14,478.00
Grant Recipient: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Anne Heinze Silvis
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Faculty Advisor:
Neil Knobloch
University of Illinois

Developing Multimedia Resources for Educators in Informal and Formal Agricultural Education Settings


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 who are using sustainable practices on their farms in Illinois.

Objectives/Performance Targets

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.


As of December 31,2004, the project has accomplished the following milestones toward completion of the project.

A core curriculum is in the initial stages of development. This curriculum has been developed by our graduate student, Jennifer Herman, in conjunction with Illinois Agricultural and Environmental Science teachers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and a number of other resources. This curriculum will be further reviewed by a core group of Illinois educators during 2005. This curriculum addresses major concepts relating to sustainable agriculture and agroecolgy. These topics include economics, sustainable agriculture, air and water quality, soils, and biodiversity. A meeting has been scheduled for January 27th to discuss the needs of educators and to receive feedback on the curriculum that has been developed thus far.

Project participants have developed a tentative script for the educational video and have reviewed this information with the Media and Communications Specialist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Producers, from the case examples completed during 2004, have been identified to take part in the video along with University of Illinois and SARE professionals. This script will be finalized for the spring 2005 development of the video.

The website that will be used to post our educational resources has been redesigned and the project participants have been working with the webdesigner to develop a website that will be accessible for educators, students, and producers.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

An indirect outcome from the project thus far, is the development of a stronger and more effective partnership among University of Illinois Extension Educators and staff, community partners, farmers, public school teachers, and University researchers. This partnership holds the potential to continue to seek out effective ways for farmers to sustain their operations, remain in the community, support rural development initiatives, and provide employment in small towns and rural areas which are desperately in need of economic activity and locally retained economic returns from agriculture.


Linda Smith
Extension Unit Leader, Christian County Office
University of Illinois Extension
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Office Phone: 2172877246
Jennifer Herman
Graduate Student, Project Assistant
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
222 Bevier Hall; 905 S. Goodwin Ave.
Uraban, IL 61801
Office Phone: 2178270633
Benjamin Tracy
Professor of Agroecology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
AW-101 Turner Hall, MC 046
1102 S Goodwin
Urbana, IL 61801
Office Phone: 2172655313
Grear Kimmel
Extension Specialist, Media and Communications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
69 Mumford Hall, MC 710
1301 W Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Office Phone: 2173339437
Neil Knobloch
Major Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
139 Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
Office Phone: 2172448093