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 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 AgFood Production Training: ACES/Urban Affairs Unit provides services to underserved clientele in urban areas in the state of Alabama, the major objectives of this proposal are:
1. 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 UREAs, 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, PSA Food Safety programming, and pest management aspects for urban food production (emphasis on Farmscaping 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 narrated 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. Produce Safety 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 PSA Food Safety training/certification workshops and 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 REAs (~17), will be conducted Spring & Fall 2018.