Growing Opportunities
for Sustainable
Small Farmers in
Washington & Idaho
Sustainable Small Farms are…
• Environmentally sound
Promoting biodiversity
Preserving habitat
Conserving natural resources
Reducing dependence on fuel
& chemical inputs
Sustainable Small Farms are…
• Economically viable
– Providing a living wage for
farmers and farm workers
– Direct marketing,
cooperatives, alternative
crops…buy local campaigns
Sustainable Small Farms are…
• Socially responsible
– Contributing to community
food security
– Ensuring safety and a positive
quality of life for producers
and workers
What is Cultivating Success ?
A collaborative educational program
for Idaho and Washington State
Began in 2000
And funded through
generous grants from:
USDA Risk Management Agency, USDA SARE,
USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants,
and USDA CSREES Western Center for Risk
Management Education
Goal of Cultivating Success
Create and implement educational
programs to increase the number
and foster the success of
sustainable small acreage farmers
and ranchers in Idaho and
Achieving the Goals of CS…
• Offer a series of courses that
provide beginning and
existing farmers with
– Planning and decisionmaking tools
– Production skills
– Support necessary to
develop sustainable small
acreage enterprises
Achieving the Goals of CS…
• Connect participants with farmers
and expose them to real world
• Use a community-based,
experiential approach
• Provide an optional Cultivating
SuccessTM Certificate (Level I and
Level II)- academic or community
Target Audience
• Audiences
– Academic students
– New and experienced farmers
• Incl. Latino & Hmong farmers
– Agricultural professionals
• Courses are offered through
– University of Idaho & Washington State University
• On Campus
• Compressed Video
• Online Hybrid
– ID and WA Cooperative Extension
• 25+ locations
– On farm
• Short courses
• Internships/Mentorships
• University Farms
Collaboration with Producers
• Representation on CS Leadership
Team (one from WA & ID)
• Guest instructors
• Primary instructors
• Farmer Mentors
• Program & Curriculum
• Input at all levels and stages
Program Modules
• Overview of Sustainable Small Farms*
– Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching
• Business Module*
– Agricultural Entrepreneurship
• Farm Based Learning*
– On Farm Internship/Mentorship
• Sustainable Production Module
Organic Gardening And Farming
Organic Farming Practicum
Ecological Soils Management
Sustainable Small Acreage Livestock Production
• Sustainable Food Systems Module
– Science, Society And Sustainable Food Systems
– Field Analysis Of Sustainable Food Systems
– World Agricultural Systems
Sustainable Small Farming and
Ranching Overview
• Course details
– Participants evaluate what type of
small enterprise is right for them,
complete a whole farm plan
– Mix of classroom lecture, guests
speakers and farm tours
– Students have volunteered on a
campus farm in exchange for credit
– Culturally adapted Latino and
Hmong curricula available
Agricultural Entrepreneurship: Building
a Sustainable Small Farm Business
• Course details:
– The “Next Step”
– Hands-on, Ag focused business planning and
market development
– Guest speakers are experienced practitioners
from the community & region
» Students create a working business
plan for their small farm enterprise
On Farm Internship/Mentorship
• Participants work one-on-one with a
farmer-mentor & Faculty or
Extension coordinator
– Mutually agreed upon plan of study
• Hands-on experience in all aspects
of production and marketing
• Seasonal or year-round, site specific
• Certified instructional mentors & farms
• 12 trained, 7 sites certified including UI &
WSU organic farms
• Site-specific curriculum associated with the
Program Results
• Over 25 locations at county Extension offices and
college campuses in WA and ID have offered or are
currently offering Cultivating SuccessTM courses
• Over 2000 participants have attended at least one
Cultivating SuccessTM course
• Over 60 trained instructors
since 2001
• 81% of participants are
farmers, ranchers,
or agricultural
Cultivating Success Women
• Leadership Team 10 members are all women,
including both farmer representatives
• Instructors approximately 55% in WA and ID
are women
• Students approximately 60% are women in WA
and ID
Students surveys reveal…
• 100% increased their understanding of
sustainable agriculture after completing
Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching
• 100% of these students are likely to use what
they learned on their farms or in their work
• 98% rated the program as effective in
potentially increasing the number and success
of small farms in ID and WA
To Find Out More…

Cultivating Success - National Ag Risk Education Library