SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Guam
January 1 to December 31, 2012
Summary of 2012 PDP Activities and Results
In two 2012 meetings, Guam’s sustainable agriculture Professional Development Program (PDP) program advisory committee identified the need for volunteer support. One area for exploration is to adapt current New Farmer training materials to serve as the core of a Guam Master Gardner program. Using this curriculum, five new Extension Associates were trained, maintained demonstration gardens and conducted community workshops. A multi-agency working group is developing the core of the proposed Master Gardener Program.
Additionally, the PDP program supported implementation of the Farmer Chef Research and Education grant, which culminated in four Farmer Chef Farm Grill Nights with seasonality displays, and three Farmer Chef conferences in Guam, Palau and Pohnpei. A trainer for the California Master Food Preserver program came to Guam to conduct a two-week Master Food Preserver/Processer workshop. Trainees have subsequently committed to forming working groups to develop a Guam Master Food Preserver/Processer Program.
Context and Overview
The Guam Sustainable Agriculture Professional Development Program (PDP) is part of the 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 Western SARE subregional conference and further refined by annual needs assessments though advisory meetings and focus groups. In 2012 focus areas identified by Guam ag professional advisory groups included: promotion of “buy local, buy fresh” through supporting the multi-partner farmer chef effort, adaptation of the New Farmer curriculum for community and backyard gardens in our tropical context, development of a Guam Master Garden program, and support for food preservation and processing trainings.
The Western SARE and locally funded PDP component of the New Farmer Plan develops curriculum and educational materials, conducts workshops and capacity building meetings, and facilitates multi-agency needs assessments, project planning and grant writing to support agricultural professionals in addressing local and regional needs. 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, SBDC, CLTC, Guam DoAG, FSA, NRCS, SWDCs and local agricultural consultants. The program maintains a web site.
Activities and Methods
Five (5) new Extension Associates underwent the condensed version of New Farmer trainings in January, February and March. These trainings were held twice a week with each session lasting three hours. Extension Associates use knowledge gained in these session in implementing their own workshops and demonstrations.
The SARE advisory group met in April and identified a need for volunteers to assemble existing resources for use in a Guam Master Gardener Curriculum. The group formed a subcommittee and projects that this initiative will take 3-4 years. At the next advisory group convening in August, PDP partners agreed to support and develop a Guam Master Food Preserver/Processer program based on the California model. Value-added food products and complementary training program were specifically identified as a high priority at the Farmer Chef conference held in July at three sites: Pohnpei, Guam and Palau.
Fourteen (14) agriculture and culinary professionals attended 70 hours of training on food preservation in September and October. Local funding out of two sources, New Farmer and Children, Family, Youth, and Nutrition programs, was leveraged to subsidize training for a California certified Master Food Preserver program. As part of their certification process, these 14 local agriculture and culinary professionals agreed to implement community workshops. Additionally, they will form a working group that will contribute to the development of a Guam Master Food Preserver/Processer program.
The SARE State Coordinator attended the PDP Coordinators national meeting in New Mexico. He brought back some of the curriculum used in the New Mexico water training, originating from Texas A & M for use in Guam’s New Farmer Program.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
Guam Fruit and Vegetable Seasonality posters were updated with support from a Western SARE R & E grant. A Palau seasonality poster was developed and a lemongrass publication and sheet mulching publications were completed. Powerpoint presentations were developed on sheet mulching, mulching and essential soil nutrients for plants.
One task planned for this reporting period was to move the website to a UOG host server and update the information. A great deal of information has been prepared for updating but a contract with a web specialist was not developed. This year has carry-over funds for which a no cost extension will be requested. This task will be accomplished under the no cost extension. Until the updated Guam sustainable agriculture website is moved to the UOG webserver, the educational materials will be available on request from the PDP coordinator by email.
Impacts and Contributions
The Western SARE R & E Farmer Chef grant’s conferences identified the need for professionals to be trained in value-added processing and food preservation. Guam Western SARE 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.
All 14 participants successfully completed the training and will form a working group in 2013 to develop Master Food Preserver/Processer Program. Moreover they will contribute 20 volunteer hours to fulfill the California certification requirements.
Co-op product variety has increased (cucumber, cooking bananas and calamansi added) as a direct result of project coordination among partners.
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills and Action
In post-training evaluation for the Master Food preserver training, the fourteen 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). All plan to utilize this knowledge in 2013 by conducting trainings on these topics.
One unintended outcome came out of the Farmer Chef conferences in Pohnpei, Guam and Palau. At each conference there was time set aside for needs assessments, and participants indicated an extremely strong need and desire to train people on value-added food processing and preservation.
Potentially the most significant unintended outcome came from the PDP partners reaching out to agencies in the realm of public health. The Guam Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Consortium became aware of increasing interest in home and community gardens. The NCD group is hosted by Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) and includes subcommittees on Nutrition and Physical Activity. This group convened after the Pacific Island Health Officer Association declared a regional state of emergency in 2010 and the NCD Consortium coordinates efforts to combat the epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases, like diabetes, which threaten the economic security of Pacific Island states. PDP’s attendance at the NCD Consortium’s monthly meetings has facilitated the forming of relationships with atypical Extension clients; for example, UoG Extension has already received requests from at least ten different nongovernmental community-based groups to conduct gardening workshops. An unintended impact of this is that public health field workers from several groups and organizations are receiving training with the New Farmer curriculum.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
Guam PDP program advisory committee met in April and August of 2012. The committee included representatives from UOG CES & AES, NRCS, Guam DoAG, Farmers Cooperative Association of Guam (Co-Op), Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and local agricultural consultants. Each member committed to participate in developing curriculum or demonstration sites for public workshops and to participate in the trainings for the general public.
Additionally the members all serve together on many boards and projects and met 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. A formal meeting of the Guam SARE advisory committee is planned for April 2013 to review 2012 efforts and plan 2013’s efforts.