'Living on the Land' Stewardship Education Program Expansion

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $160,204.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Stephanie Etter
University of Idaho Extension

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn
  • Fruits: grapes, berries (strawberries), melons
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, sheep, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: parasite control, feed rations, free-range, manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, watering systems
  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, cover crops, fallow, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, marketing management, market study, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, chemical control, disease vectors, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, flame, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, physical control, row covers (for pests), sanitation, soil solarization, weather monitoring, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Small Acreage Landowners, Market Gardeners, Pasture, Youth/Adult Partnerships

    The dramatic increase in small-scale landowners and their lack of knowledge to provide economic and environmentally sound stewardship over that land is a crisis in western states. As population increases there is a huge demand for information and technical assistance to help them “do the right thing” for their wildlife, land, plant, animal, human and water resources. The Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages Course was introduced in 2002 to address these specific issues as a SARE-funded Professional Development curriculum (Donaldson 2001).

    Based on five years of evaluation in Idaho and Eastern Oregon, participants indicate there is a need to expand the “Living on the Land” (LOL) course model to multiple locations to address the lack of knowledge, skills and awareness to manage the land.

    The goals of this grant are to strengthen regional LOL partnerships, increase networking, and build alumni volunteer corps by: 1) implementing an on-farm research and testing component to address market gardening, pastured poultry, and goat enterprises; 2) further developing this instructional model, by the training of two local instructional teams and other western delivery teams so that LOL can be expanded to multiple sites in Idaho and Eastern Oregon; 3) empowering the synergy from enrolling youth and their parents as a unit in this course by exploring and demonstrating LOL paths to family sustainability; and 4) develop a new LOL module (six lessons) to address gaps in the curriculum identified by the 100 + individuals that completed LOL in Idaho between 2002-2006.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Increase awareness and availability of LOL educational programs in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and Eastern Oregon by offering the program at three sites. Market, conduct and evaluate an annual LOL instructor development and training short course to support Idaho LOL sites and other LOL western delivery teams. By 2009, instructors at three sites will train and certify one hundred and thirty-five (135) small-acreage units from 10 or more counties in Idaho and Oregon. Each unit will complete the LOL course, develop a small acreage plan and implement stewardship practices advanced in the curriculum on their land. Foster, develop and evaluate twenty-eight (28) or more youth-adult partnerships that address stewardship, life skills, attitudes, awareness and knowledge of the land by the next generation of landowners in the Treasure Valley. Research, conduct, implement and evaluate on-farm demonstration and testing of market garden varieties, production practices with goats and pastured poultry and using grasses to reduce water use and to manage weeds at up to eight (8) sites. Conduct, implement and evaluate six (6) or more public ‘Living on the Land’ Tours using on-farm demonstration and test sites as the basis for public stewardship education by 2009. Create, pilot and submit for publication a new module for the LOL curriculum to address gaps in the existing curriculum on marketing and economics as stewards of small acreages.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.