Alabama SARE program (Auburn University and Alabama A&M University combined) serves over 1000 small producers, educators, and community gardeners each year since 2010. A major limitation of organic production system is insect pest pressure in the south and the Alabama SARE program directly assists producers in reducing vegetable production loss and crop contamination. SARE program at Auburn University provides multi-level hands-on training to small producers with immediately useful information. SARE program at Alabama A&M supports small urban farms and community gardeners in the northern parts of the state. This proposal essentially supports the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Program and proposes development of content using complex digital media while focusing on collaboration between institutions and program delivery via farm incubators and nonprofits for standardized distance education system. This proposal will continue to focus on train-the-trainer part more intensively with Auburn and Alabama A&M Universities cross-training Extension agents and county coordinators using a mix of online and on-farm training.
Project objectives from proposal:
Urban Food Production Training: ACES/Urban Affairs Unit provides services to under served clientele in urban areas in the state of Alabama, the major objectives of this proposal are:
l. Development of integrated multidisciplinary training module focused on urban gardens, intensive small scale
vegetable production, organic production, and pest management aspects for urban food production (emphasis on
ethnic food production)
2. Provide training to statewide URBAs, educators, and potential urban food producers through the use of online
curriculum and onsite field-days and workshops.
Subject Topics: Development of integrated multidisciplinary training module focused on urban gardens, intensive small scale vegetable production and sustainable practices, organic production, and pest
management aspect for urban food production (emphasis on Fa1mscaping practices).
Training Objectives: (Audience) Provide training to statewide regional extension agents, and small-farm urban food producers through the use of online curriculum and onsite field-days and workshops.
Objective 1. Subject matter topics for electronic curriculum, Farmscaping, Square Foot Gardening, and
Produce Safety (Alabama A&M): Here is a brief description of the elements of the proposes e-curriculum on
Urban Food Production. Modules will include naiTated and animated learning materials along with interactive
quizzes and web-links. Urban food production initiative (2 course modules): This will be developed at
Alabama A&M and contain a module on intensive small scale production methods integrated with organic
IPM and Farmscaping. Online pre and post survey will be administered to participants to determine level of
understanding and material adoption.
Mobile Learning Technology Platform: Water Wheels is Urban Home Grounds’, mobile learning platform
originally developed for 6-12 grade youth education on water conservation. The Water Wheels also serves as
Urban Home Grounds’ mobile learning/training platform integrating programming modules of Urban Gardens
and Urban Green. The electronic modules will be designed with end users in mind (e.g., new urban food
producers) and may later be expanded to be more inclusive of advanced topics for experienced producers. The
curriculum will be mainly shared via Alabama SARE, Vegetable IPM websites, and Urban Home Grounds’
Urban Gardens and Sustainable Landscapes website.
Objective 2. Project promotion and training: There is a high demand from small-farm urban vegetable and
back yard poultry producers for regional workshops and qualified trainers. Support will be provided in the
development of 2 modules on intensive small scale production methods integrated with organic IPM statewide
and share information with agents and clientele through online In-Service training modules, newsletters
(Metro News), newspaper and magazine articles.
Train-the-trainer: An in-service technical training workshop and on site field-day workshop for UREAs ( ~6),
educators and urban clientele will be conducted Fall 2018, November 2, 2017.