Towards a Sustainable Agriculture: An Updated Curriculum for High School Classes

2004 Annual Report for LNC03-227

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $83,671.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Douglas Maxwell
University of Wisconsin

Towards a Sustainable Agriculture: An Updated Curriculum for High School Classes


A web-based curriculum on sustainable agriculture is being developed for use in Iowa and Wisconsin high school agriculture programs. This curriculum is based in part on Wisconsin’s sustainable agriculture curriculum published in 1991 but also incorporates new material and references other sustainable agriculture resources now available. The first parts of the curriculum are undergoing review by farmers and teachers and will be available on the web soon.

Objectives/Performance Targets


High school teachers in Wisconsin and Iowa will become more knowledgeable about sustainable agriculture.

Teachers in Wisconsin and Iowa who are interested in alternative approaches to agriculture will use the curriculum in their classes.

High school students in those classes will become aware of principles of sustainable agriculture and of examples in their area.

High school students in those classes will become aware of their role in the food system.

Intermediate- and long-term:

Some students will become involved in projects related to sustainable agriculture.

The knowledge and awareness gained through the curriculum may influence the actions of some students as college students, working adults, and consumers.

20% of high school agriculture teachers in Wisconsin and Iowa will use at least portions of the curriculum in their teaching.

Teachers will incorporate sustainable agriculture concepts and materials into the rest of their agriculture curriculum.

Communities where the curriculum is taught will become more accepting of sustainable agriculture practitioners.

The curriculum will be adapted for use in other states.

The curriculum will be expanded to include additional modules.


  • Assembled a group of ten project advisors and partners, and an advisory committee of six teachers and four farmers from Wisconsin and Iowa.

    Met with the advisory committee in January 2004 to outline the overall structure and contents of the curriculum.

    Drafted content for the first three modules of the curriculum: “Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture,” “Corn, Beans and Burgers: field crops in sustainable agriculture,” and “Flesh, Fish, and Fowl: animals in sustainable agriculture.”

    Began building the curriculum website during the summer of 2004.

    Presented a 90-minute workshop previewing the curriculum and selected learning activities at seven teacher in-service meetings in Wisconsin in October 2004. Approximately 200 teachers participated in the workshops. The teachers provided feedback on the activities they tried.

    Projected activities for upcoming year:

    Release of the first three modules on the web expected in March or April 2005.

    Development of content for the second three modules in summer and fall 2005.

    Release of second three modules on the web expected for January 2006.

    Evaluation of the curriculum to begin in spring 2005 and continue until the end of the project.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Because the curriculum has not yet been released, broader impacts to date are minimal.


Diane Mayerfeld

[email protected]
Outreach Specialist
University of Wisconsin Extension - CIAS
1450 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
Office Phone: 6082628188