- Education and Training: general education and training
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
With increasing numbers of people choosing to enter into urban agriculture, reliable information and examples of successful urban systems are essential. Extension offices typically offer this support in rural areas, but urban Extension educators may overlook this area of community interest. Current programs that are offered by extension and NGOs may not meet the needs of underserved farmers in their area. This project will evaluate current interaction between urban farmers and Extension educators in the Kansas City area. This evaluation will increase knowledge and awareness of urban farmers' needs and Extension's available resources. The expected results of this project can help to enhance communication between urban Extension educators and local farmers, direct Extension programming towards community needs, and establish future collaboration between Extension, urban farmers, and other educational agencies in the Kansas City area. Knowledge gained from this collaboration will increase success for both farmers and Extension offices. This project assessment will include a written questionnaire and interviews with urban farmers in the Kansas City area, all horticulture and family and consumer science Extension educators in corresponding counties, and representatives from the educational organization Cultivate Kansas City. Factor analysis as well as a post-project survey for Extension educators will be used to evaluate our results. The results will be published in a professional peer-reviewed journal, used in a graduate thesis, and summarized as a white paper for collaborating Extension offices and farmers.
Project objectives from proposal:
In the short-term, this project will evaluate the interaction between urban farmers and urban county Extension educators. This evaluation will increase knowledge of both farmers' needs and available Extension resources. Through this study, participating urban farmers will be exposed to information that Extension offers. Extension educators will also better understand demand for urban farming that is present in their service area. From our results, educators can gather ideas on future program areas tailored to urban farmers' information needs.
For the mid-term results, we foresee improved communication between urban food education agencies and urban farmers. This potential communication could stem from their increased knowledge of available resources and interested community members.
In the long-term, we envision that the results of this study will enable communication between all urban farmers, NGOs, and Extension offices. Through this partnership, information and educational materials can be readily made available to a wider range of community members. By incorporating more people into this knowledge network, awareness of our food system increases and more informed action can be taken to ensure fresh, healthy, local, sustainably grown food to community members.