We will continue our support of University of Idaho’s agricultural education programs, including but not limited to Cultivating Success, Beginning Farmer and Rancher, Annie’s Project and other programs directed at improving farmer viability. A portion of the three-year funds will support training opportunities for small to medium size farmers to increase distribution and sales of local foods. As access to local food may be increasing the knowledge and ability to prepare and cook local food still has room for improvement through education. To address this need in Idaho the SARE program coordinators and collaborators propose to develop and host training’s to educate local producers, community garden organizers and food bank managers on how to develop, assemble and deliver a meal kit service for their local communities. This service will address the needs of small to medium size farmers who would like to increase the sales of their produce and meat products to local consumers directly. In addition to this service, ongoing training’s on online farmers markets will continue. We will continue to support outreach and education on the use of cover crops, reduced pesticide use, and other sustainable agriculture practices to continue in Idaho.
Project objectives from proposal:
The main objective of the three-year program will be to increase access to local food via training’s for farmers on direct marketing ventures. We will increase knowledge of how to plan for and assemble meal kits using local produce from farmers market vendors, community gardens and local food banks. We will teach skills related to designing meals and recipes around Idaho’s seasonal fruits and vegetables including quantities, seasonings and additional ingredients needed. Training’s for increased community garden participation will be provided regionally. We will continue to increase the capacity of University of Idaho Extension Educators to conduct field demonstrations and perform other necessary programs by offering outreach and travel reimbursements.
We will continue our involvement with University of Idaho’s small farmer education program, Cultivating Success, and with the team that is working on a USDA Beginning Farmer & Rancher grant entitled “Cultivating Success™ Idaho: Advanced Skill Building for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers through Hands-on, In-depth Production Education” project. A portion of grant funds will be used to support the ongoing development and extension of an online farmers market exchange to communities throughout the state. This is a continuation of the local food system development funded by Western SARE in 2018. Helping local producers connect with buyers and plan their production accordingly will improve access to local foods and improve profitability for producers. Buyers can order their products online, with different delivery options. Funds will be used for training’s and support staff.
We will also continue to support professional development opportunities for Extension professionals and others working in sustainable agriculture, including support for outreach and travel to conferences for professional development in the area of sustainable agricultural. We will also use the funds to travel to annual SARE PDP meetings.