- Education and Training: extension, networking
- Farm Business Management: cooperatives
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
- Soil Management: soil analysis
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
In this project, our team evaluated and developed an extensive range of interdisciplinary educational materials. These were targeted for use by Extension and SCS for in-service training, and for client education.
Project materials were also focused to teaching faculty for use in formal classroom environments.
We developed and acquired several new teaching and training aids including:
– models of leases for converting farms from conventional
to sustainable practices;
– a teacher’s guide to cropping system design;
– a teaching manual to accompany a new book on
pesticide-free agriculture, written by one of the farmer cooperators, Jim Bender, and published by the Nebraska Press; and
– course syllabi from 15 different areas.
Drafts of these materials were presented to two regional conferences and revised according to evaluations and authors’ comments. Many of the materials have been shared in their formative state with all 12 states in the North Central Region, and over ten other states.
All curriculum materials have been published in two volumes and disseminated throughout the North Central Region, and to selected national sites.
The two volume set of curriculum materials is noted on electronic networks, such as the Sustainable Agriculture
Network. Major materials centers, such as NAL and ATTRA, will have copies of all materials. Most materials will be available in electronic form from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources “gopher” server. This can be reached by gophering to “ianrvm.unl.edu”.
Future curricular design issues for sustainable agriculture have been identified, as well as some specific future oriented content and techniques. These are noted in Volume 2 of the materials compilation.
1. Write issue-oriented background papers and assemble key teaching and training materials in critical dimensions of sustainable agricultural systems.
2. Organize an interdisciplinary regional conference to present these new materials and assess the broader needs for future materials development.
3. Catalog and make available the conference materials, and other products in the area of sustainable agriculture–including course syllabi and key papers.
4. Make references, courses and modules, and other materials available at low cost and in a timely manner across the region and the country by using and taking advantage of the latest in communication and information technologies.