Supporting agricultural transformation through elderberry production in rural and urban landscapes

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2021: $14,882.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Missouri
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Robin Rotman
University of Missouri


  • Fruits: berries (other)


  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, partnerships, social capital, social networks, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Missouri is the number one producer of American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) in the United States.

    Current research focuses on understanding the health benefits of elderberry, exploring markets, developing improved cultivars, and technical solutions for processing and harvesting. This project seeks to understand the social and cultural dimensions of elderberry growers’ production practices, what assets and resources they use to work towards stated goals for their elderberry enterprises. Increased knowledge on the cultural and social dimensions of elderberry production can provide insights on how to better align farmers values and preferences with programs (e.g. conservation reserve program, NRCS) meant to increase the resilience and environmental sustainability (e.g. through agroforestry) of agricultural practices.

    Additionally, elderberry integration into urban landscapes can introduce urban residents to perennial agricultural practices and increase awareness and interest of the benefits of edible native perennials that provide food and medicinal benefits. The goals are to explore opportunities to integrate elderberry into urban landscapes via home gardens, community gardens, and agricultural parks through the establishment of a medicinal demonstration space at Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and a workshop demonstrating the production and processing of elderberry in urban spaces and for home use.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    • identify factors that influence elderberry growers to integrate elderberry into their agricultural practices
    • identify knowledge and resource needs of elderberry growers and use social network analysis to identify areas for intervention
    • identify knowledge gaps among agents that work with growers/landowners interested in elderberry adoption
    • educate urban home gardening communities on elderberry production and processing through a medicinal demonstration plot and workshop

    Learning outcomes are below:

    • Urban home gardeners will increase their knowledge on elderberry benefits and how to produce and process elderberry through demonstration plot and workshop
    • Agents who work with elderberry growers and those interested in growing elderberry increase their awareness and knowledge on needs of elderberry growers
    • Researcher(s) identify areas for intervention to help elderberry growers achieve goals (e.g. production, market participation, value-added products)


    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.