Sustainability insecurities of our food system include: aging farmers, affordable access to healthy food, environmental damage, and affordable land acquisition for beginner farmers. Using a systems approach, schools can provide a logical venue to address these by partnering with small farmers and educating future farmers and consumers. Doing so will provide short and long term farm profits, stewardship of natural resources, and community resilience and quality of life.
This project is important and innovative because it fosters partnerships that are mutually beneficial while advancing farming education as a core curriculum in schools. Using a farmer developed curriculum, centered on sustainable practices, we will add academic standards, unique to current farm curriculums. Our curriculum will include a diverse collection of farmers across the NCR as role models and provide engaging activities for grades 3-12.
A Professional development workshop to disseminate curriculum and support and increase teacher/farmer networking in the NCR will be developed, conducted, and evaluated. Farmers will participate as content reviewers and expert instructors. Pre-post survey data will be collected from all participants and from students to measure attitudinal and conceptual change regarding the curriculum. These results will be included in the SARE final report and future conferences.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Establish NRCS and review team partnership and meeting schedule
- Review farm curriculum with established team
- Hire farm intern(s) for research, marketing, video editing, and workshop needs
- Produce videos of 8-10 farmer enterprises highlighting sustainable farming practices from each state in the NCR
- Hire STEM education expert to apply Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS) and evaluation rubrics to curriculum, and create pre-post surveys
- Conduct curriculum reviews by academic experts
- Edit and Publish curriculum
- Plan and execute a Professional workshop conference for farmer /teacher networking, curriculum dissemination and training
- Collect and evaluate pre/post survey data
- Prepare SARE reports