i-Three Issue Corps 2016 – Underserved Farming Community Collaboration

Carlo Moreno

Carlo Moreno

Extension Educator

University of Idaho, Southern District Extension

Update:

Helpful tips from key informants at the March design-a-thon facilitated application for a $500K NIFA grant; three years of funding for the project.  Assistance from evaluation specialist also helped to focus project and redefine objectives used in grant application.

What is the change you are designing to achieve?

My research program is designed to reduce barriers to organic and sustainable production in Idaho.

How will you measure that change?

 I will utilize the logic method to assess inputs, outputs, and outcomes of short-term, medium-term, and long-term impacts. Inputs will include personnel, extramural funds, educational materials, time, effort, equipment, and technology.

What is the innovative component or strategy you will implement as a result of the design-a-thon?

Will look into the development of farmer cooperatives as means of promoting sustainable and organic farming. Will also work towards building an inter-institutional research and educational collaboration in pursuing funds from USDA, SARE, and possibly USGS.

How did the design-a-thon help you?

Networking with folks at different ends of the food systems spectrum. Was great to bounce ideas and hear different experiences in building extension programs.

Summary:

I am using a participatory, community-driven research approach to understand and address the critical barriers to organic and sustainable production in the Magic Valley of Idaho. Organic and sustainable growers often face unique social, ecological, and economic challenges to maintaining their operations afloat, and my research and extension efforts will focus on promoting resiliency to shocks and stresses through livelihood diversification, low input farm management practices, and habitat conservation. Grower participation and involvement will be promoted at every step of the research process as a means of encouraging farmer empowerment and facilitating knowledge transfer within rural communities.

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