SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — In national surveys of organic producers, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) often hears from farmers that they consider peers to be the best source of information and guidance. In-person events such as farmer conferences also rate high on the learning scale.
Unfortunately, the challenges of this year have severely restricted these opportunities. And, even in active organic communities, some farmers lack access to these networks due to cultural, language and other differences. Virtual peer learning programs can offer a solution by providing networking opportunities among farmers, both during the immediate crisis and on an ongoing basis.
To increase understanding of how virtual peer learning can help more farmers increase their knowledge and improve their practices, OFRF has awarded a grant to Sarah Brown at Oregon Tilth. Unlike traditional distance learning such as online courses and instructional webinars, these programs are explicitly designed to use web technology for the reciprocal sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experience among practitioners. The research team is focused on improving the design and delivery of virtual peer learning programs that support organic farmers to strengthen their economic viability and ecological sustainability—with the ultimate goal of helping more farmers start and succeed in organic farming.
Visit the OFRF research grant database for more information on this project. All results will be shared freely upon submission of Brown’s final report.
This announcement marks the last of 13 grants OFRF awarded in 2020 to help address the top challenges facing organic farmers and ranchers. View a summary of the grant announcements here.
As a result of OFRF’s research, education, and outreach efforts, thousands of farmers have received pertinent research and training information. Results from all OFRF-funded projects are available to access for free in their online database.
— Organic Farming Research Foundation
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