Your dedication to partner with us is inspiring. Your membership allows us to continue working with farmers to bring high quality educational opportunities and provide support for farmer gatherings. In the 20 years that Rural Roots has been working with farmers, we have seen a huge amount of progress forward, more farmers markets, more networking opportunities, and more money in the pockets of producers. But farmers continue to face challenges such as land loss, access to capital, and ever increasing competition from corporations with deep pockets. With your help, we can continue bringing farmers the information and support they need to run a sustainable farm and business.
In 1997, Rural Roots began partnering and pooling resources with the University of Idaho and Washington State University to offer a wide range of small acreage educational programs. Since that time we have been collaboratively offering workshops, farm tours and conferences, and conducting direct marketing research.
Throughout each of these activities, participants were surveyed, formally and informally, to determine their educational needs and priorities. These audiences continually say they want and/or need: 1) more in-depth programs on all aspects of small acreage production and business planning; 2) to learn from successful farmers and others that are “doing it;” 3) more on-farm experience; and 4) programs that allow people with full-time jobs and families to participate.
In Spring of 2000, Rural Roots and the University of Idaho began focusing efforts in the area of sustainable food systems through a grant from Kellogg’s Partnership 2020 which allocated funds for the creation of a pilot year-long on-farm education program (OFEP). At the same time, funds were also awarded to WSU for the development of two distance education sustainable food systems (SFS) courses.
One year later, a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant was awarded jointly to Rural Roots, UI and WSU to combine the two sustainable food systems and the three OFEP courses to offer a certificate in Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching. This program is now called Cultivating Success™.