Intergenerational Education for Sustainable Agriculture

1998 Annual Report for LS98-095

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1998: $176,240.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $205,550.00
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Savanah Williams
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Co-Investigators:
Keith Richards
Southern SAWG

Intergenerational Education for Sustainable Agriculture

Summary

Objectives
1) Introduce the concepts of sustainable agriculture and its impacts on our environment, economy and community to students and teachers in our public school systems by establishing on-site educational gardens at pilot schools and in community gardens in six states.
2) Integrate local family farmers —especially limited resource farmers —and other farming professionals into educational activities at these pilot schools through the development of hands-on curricula for science, mathematics, literacy, economics, social skills, history and art based on sustainable agriculture activities. These farmers and professionals will be introduced to students as role models for viable career paths and occupational choices.
3) Create a regional network, which could expand to a national network, that promotes sustainable agriculture education for young people by establishing linkages between the participants so they can communicate with and learn from each other.
4) Disseminate program results to other educational professionals and agricultural information providers so that successful programs can be adapted in other school systems and educational settings.

Approach
To date, 11 programs in seven states — Dunbar Garden Project, 5 schools in the Roots and Shoots Project, Sustainable Food Center, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Newport News Boys and Girls Club, Mark Twain School, and the Beat Four Cooperative — have established on-site gardens and educational activities that incorporate aspects of sustainable agriculture.

We have facilitated extensive networking among other sustainable agriculture youth education projects from both within the Southern region and beyond to link programs and share information. Savanah Williams has contacted 13 new organizations and schools in the past year, and expanded our network to include programs that focus on livestock management as well as gardening and landscaping.

We established communication and collaboration among groups through meetings, conference calls, sharing of resources, and networking at the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Youth Conference. Farmers, teachers, and youth from nine of the organizations attended the Southern SAWG Youth conference in January 2000 to network with each other, participate in model educational activities, and share curricula ideas.

Work left to be done includes: 1) further identification of appropriate curricula custom fit to each site, and development of new curricula to fill gaps, 2) participation in conference activities at the 2001 Southern SAWG Youth conference, 3) assessing the lessons learned and gathering the materials generated from each pilot site to distribute to others who are interested, 4) developing appropriate channels (such as a website, e-mail network, newsletter, and other written materials) for disseminating and sharing information, and 5) planning as a group to develop the regional network in ways that will lead to self-sufficiency and long-term sustainability for the individual programs.

By offering more educational opportunities in the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture to youth and by exposing young people to farmers using sustainable practices, we will increase the understanding and support for sustainable agriculture among the general population. In addition, these educational programs should interest more young people into pursuing an occupation in the field of sustainable agriculture. The more good minds that we have in our field, the better we will be able to solve problems for all family farmers.

Collaborators:

Wayne Patterson

wpatterson@howard.edu
Project SEED
Office Phone: 2025468166
Felder Freeman

brother_voo_doo@yahoo.com
Federation of Southern Cooperatives
4066 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy
John’s Island, SC 29455
Office Phone: 8437680044
Felipe Camacho

felipe@sustainablefoodcenter.org
Sustainable Food Center
PO Box 13323
Austin, TX 78711
Office Phone: 5122360074
Jay Fulbright

arknatpro@cei.net
Arkansas Natural Produce
20627 Hwy 84
Malvern, Ar 72104
Office Phone: 5018651331
Hollis Watkins

Southern ECHO
PO Box 10433
Jackson, MS 39289
Office Phone: 6013521500
Marty Mesh

fogoffice@aol.com
Florida Organic Growers
PO Box 12311
Gainesville, FL 32604
Office Phone: 3523776345
Jessica Foxx

Beat Four Cooperative
8598 Prairie Point Rd
Macon, MS 39341
Office Phone: 6627264970
Helen Vinton

Southern Mutual Help Association
3602 Old Jeanerette Rd
New Iberia, La 70560
Office Phone: 3373673277