Summary of 2014 State/Protectorate PDP Activities and Results:
Guam’s hosted the Western SARE Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure in the Western Pacific conference. The PDP program convened its advisory board in September to explore future possibilities on collaborative programming (9/9) and ran the annual Western SARE grant writing workshop (11/10). Guam’s normal sustainable agriculture PDP activities included:
Field agent training:
The PDP Coordinator supported a FSM COM Western SARE grant by serving on a training team that conducted four one-week trainings in each FSM state. At the request of the Farm Service Agency, the farm record generation component was conducted on Guam (7/9).
The PDP program was extremely active during the program year in developing curriculum and promoting value added processing/food preservation of local produce through workshops.
Collaborative Curriculum Development:
A recent thrust is the adaptation of the New Farmer curriculum and training of nutrition and health professionals to use these materials in workshops for teachers and home and market gardeners.
Context and Overview:
The Guam Sustainable Agriculture Professional Development Program (PDP) is part of Guam’s Global Food Security New Farmer Plan of Work for NIFA reporting. This plan of work is driven by needs assessments of local and regional farmers and agricultural professionals. Core issues were identified at the 2007 and 2014 Western SARE subregional conferences and are refined by annual needs assessments though advisory meetings and focus groups.
The Western SARE PDP component develops curriculum, conducts workshops, and facilitates multi-agency needs assessments and collaborative project planning to support outreach professionals. Guam PDP focuses on leveraging these professionals’ outreach activities through collaborations. The agricultural professionals supported include: University of Guam and other regional land grants (CES, AES), Guam Community College (GCC) culinary program, UOG SBDC, CLTC, Guam Department of Agriculture, FSA, NRCS, SWDCs, and local agricultural consultants.
A new focus audience is the growing number of education and outreach professionals not trained in agriculture who are promoting gardening and other agricultural activities. Professionals trained included Extension field staff in Consumer and Family Sciences and 4-H, plus a large number of teachers from public and private schools. The PDP also worked with partners to coordinate curriculum development in support of value added processing and food preservation trainings.
Activities and Methods:
In the first half of the year, Guam’s PDP program’s efforts were dominated by the planning and hosting of the Western SARE Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure in the Western Pacific conference.
Field agent training
Guam hosted the Western SARE Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure in the Western Pacific Conference (May 19-21). For this event the PDP program participated in weekly phone calls with Western SARE Administrative Council and other regional members in the months prior to the conference, providing planning, logistics coordination, participant outreach, and other various event support activities. Program staff coordinated an island-wide farm tour for Western SARE officials and visiting agricultural professionals (5/22). The Guam PDP program also held a pre-conference event a one day Breadfruit Workshop (see below).
A 2013 assessment guided the planning and curriculum development for a 2014 Western SARE College of Micronesia grant targeting agricultural professionals who will conduct trainings helping subsistence agro-forest farmers’ transition to cash /commercial production. In May and June 2014, the Guam PDP Coordinator supported this multi-year effort as a member of a training team that conducted four one-week trainings in Micronesia. One part of the training was a recordkeeping workshop that was also requested by the FSA (6/3 planning meeting) for delivery to Guam farmers. Along with Northern and Southern Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the PDP program trained 19 Guam participants (7/9).
PDP staff attended a two-day session on special food processes at retail locations conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (9/25-9/26) to inform further development of Guam’ food process/preservation workshop series.
Attendees at the annual local Western SARE advisory meeting (9/9) included representatives from various local and federal agencies, community based nonprofit organizations, plus independent agricultural consultants. All meeting participants have committed to supporting agricultural education by presenting at Guam PDP-headed workshops, providing feedback on educational materials, and promoting workshops. The next collaborative workshop on local and federal program enrollment is projected for January 24, 2015.
The PDP program hosted its annual Western SARE grant workshop, where the session focused on Professional-Producer and Farmer-Rancher applications (11/10) and attracted 28 participants. The coordinator also announced and presented on the Western SARE grant opportunities at several farmer meetings.
The Guam PDP Coordinator attended the PDP Coordinators national meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The PDP program developed curriculum for and supported two workshops on food processing/preservation (low acid pressure canning, 1/18; drying, 3/22), thereby bringing the total number of food processing workshops to four. Between late 2013 and this program year, this workshop series has attracted 79 attendees. The PDP program, with field agents who attended the Master Food Preserver training in 2013, also collaborated with the UOG SBDC and OVOP to deliver an overview about Cooperative Extension Services and PDP activities (2/24), food preservation (7/19), and a workshop on citrus juicing and business development (12/13).
While not a proposed activity within the original Western SARE PDP application, the PDP program was also able to take advantage of the regional Western SARE Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure in the Western Pacific conference by coordinating a breadfruit production and processing workshop (5/19), combining the expertise of visiting conference attendees Craig Elevitch, M. Kalani Souza, and Dr. Failautusi Avegalio with local experts. This workshop also provided the template for an eggplant home production and cooking workshop (10/4), which is the first of a series that promotes abundantly available local produce. The PDP program either developed curriculum for, or coordinated or assisted with implementation of seven workshops (1/18, 2/24, 3/22, 5/19, 7/19, 10/4, 12/13) on value added processing or use of local produce.
The PDP program continues to nurture its existing relationship with hospitality industry professionals within the Micronesian Chefs Association (MCA) by attending monthly meetings, updating members on the agricultural industry, and consulting on produce availability/promotion at MCA-sponsored events. For 2014, the PDP program’s most significant collaborations were the Salon Culinaire (11/19) and coordinating the produce and food component showcase of the CHL Village Weight Initiative awards ceremony (12/18). The Salon Culinaire is the GCC culinary program’s annual competition, features student and professional chefs, and requires that participants use agricultural products as determined and sourced with assistance from Guam Western SARE PDP. The CHL Village Weight Initiative Awards ceremony was modeled after a prior Western SARE R&E grant awarded to develop farmer-chef grill nights and required three professional chefs to showcase local seasonal produce for the promotion of increased fruit and vegetable consumption for better health outcomes. The PDP also consulted on the MCA’s signature event Maila Ta Fan Chesa (5/27), which features a chef teaming with producer to showcase an agriculture product from the producer’s village.
Collaborative Curriculum Development and Use
In 2014, UOG CES, CHL, 4H, and ANR field agents used gardening curriculum that originated with the PDP New Farmer program materials to target public and private school educators. These field agents then conducted 33 workshops (multiple sessions of the eight two- hour workshop modules) in community and after-school settings. Thirty four teachers from four schools received training and three new school gardens were started. In addition, 68 community members also received gardening training at these workshops. This represents a significant leveraging of the PDP program efforts. Guam PDP provides ongoing training and curriculum support to these non-agriculture trained field agents to increase their effectiveness in delivering gardening trainings and support. During the 2014 period the PDP advisory group agreed to collaboratively conduct the full New Farmer training series and update/revise materials during 2015 calendar year.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products:
During 2013 and 2014 the Guam PDP program worked with the CES Children’s Healthy Living (CHL) program to identify and repackage a 16-hour Basics of Starting Your Own Garden curriculum from the PDP New Farmer Curriculum. The materials were branded as the CHL gardening curriculum (Western SARE logo remains on the bottom) and are seeing wide use on island. These materials were adapted and repackaged to use with outreach (public health workers) and education professionals (teachers) that do not have agriculture training. This effort repackaged and enhanced materials from the PDP developed New Farmer Curriculum on eight topics: Soil management, container gardening, propagation by cuttings and seeds, mulching, sheet mulching, raised beds, composting, and water in the garden. It consists of resource publications from Guam and other states, PowerPoint slide lectures based on these publications, and a sheet of recommended hands-on activities.
Guam’s PDP program assumes that one of the best ways to develop agricultural, food, and culinary professionals’ capacity is to engage them in curriculum development and then pilot trainings. The PDP effort made progress on two of five modules that will comprise 30 hours of training for value added product development/food preservation. Two were completed and piloted during this period: “Low Acid Pressure Canning” and “Produce Drying.” Both included lectures on food safety, boiling water bath canning procedures, and drying of fruits and vegetables with hands on-practice utilizing local fruits and vegetables. The curriculum includes publications from USDA and other states’ Extension Services, PowerPoint lectures, recipes, and hands-on activities.
CDs with these educational materials are being sent in with the report and any of these materials are available on request from the PDP coordinator.
Impacts and Contributions:
The Western SARE R&E Farmer Chef grant-sponsored conferences identified the Western Pacific’s need for professionals to be trained in value added processing and food preservation. In the previous reporting period Guam PDP, in collaboration with other local funds, sponsored a two week and culinary training to address this need. This workshop trained: two extension faculty (Food Technologist, Agriculture Economist), six Extension Associates/Field Agents, two Guam Community College culinary instructors, one Small Business Development Center advisor, one Palau agriculture consultant, one Guam agriculture consultant, and one farmer. During this reporting period the PDP program coordinated these professionals in developing curriculum for a workshop series and piloting two workshops. Additionally, the PDP program has engaged the Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health, which oversees permitting for food service and retail locations. Employees of Environmental Health are scheduled for an intensive food processing/preservation education session for January 30, 2015.
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Action:
In post-training evaluation for the food preservation/value added processing trainings, trainees indicated both acquisition of new knowledge and skills and attitudinal change (in the area of food preservations and development of local value added products). The same was true from the evaluations from the Grant Writing Workshop for Western SARE Grants. In each of these workshops participants indicated they would like to attend more of these types of workshops.
Evaluations from the Farmer/Chef Farm Grill Night indicate that chefs find the introduction to local produce items used in the events interesting and are increasing their desire to use local produce in both their menus and in competitions.
UOG CES New Farmer Program staff attendance at the Guam Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Consortium’s monthly meetings has facilitated the forming of relationships with atypical Extension clients; for example, UOG Extension is now receiving requests from many government and nongovernment community-based groups for curriculum and gardening workshops. It was in response to this need that the PDP program worked with UOG CES groups to adapt the New Farmer Curriculum for use with nonagricultural professionals. An unintended impact of this is that for two years now public health and community development field workers from several groups and organizations are receiving training on and utilizing this adapted New Farmer gardening curriculum with non-traditional gardening audiences as reported above.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation:
The full Guam PDP program advisory committee met in September of 2014 and included representatives from the Guam Department of Agriculture, FSA, U.S. Rural Development, NRCS, Northern Soil and Water Conservation District, UOG Cooperative Extension, Children Healthy Living Program (conducts teacher gardening trainings), and agricultural consultants. New participants for this year include Guam’s Farm to Table Corp., which is a community-based nonprofit that assists farmers with business development, UOG One Village One Product (OVOP), and Guam Department of Land Management/Chamorro Land Trust. All meeting participants have committed to supporting agricultural education by attending/presenting at Guam PDP-headed workshops, providing feedback on educational materials, and promoting workshops. The group agreed to refine the curriculum for and hold a New Farmer workshop series during 2015. The first collaborative workshop in this series will be on local and federal programs for farmers and is projected for January 24, 2015.
Additionally the members all serve together on many boards and projects and so meet in various combinations (Soil and Water Conservation District meetings, Guam Farmers Cooperative Association meetings, and others) during the year and discussed other joint projects and efforts. These meetings provided guidance to the Western SARE PDP program, as they involve ag professionals, farmers, and other program clients.