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Research and Education Support for the Renewal of an Agriculture of the Middle
Community and Leadership Development
The decline of the mid-size family farm sector in American agriculture poses threats to the agri-food system and to rural communities. This project examines alternative production and marketing strategies to rejuvenate the mid-size family farm sector.
2011 Project Description
In 2011, I carried out 4 distinctive activities with my master's students as part of their thesis research:
(a) completed analysis of the web-based survey with operators and subscribers of community support agriculture (CSA) in Kentucky (Objective 3);
(b) carried out another web-based survey with participants of the Kentucky Proud program, operated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, to evaluate the effectiveness of this state branding program of locally-produced food (Objectives 2-4);
(c) developed an instrument and began conducting the third web-based survey with young and beginner farmers to examine their challenges and opportunities (Objectives 2 and 4).
(d) The website for the Lexington Community Food Assessment project was completely redone. The site includes all the research reports, being generated in the last 5 years, including two survey projects with Lexington consumers.
Three conference papers were presented by master's students, including one on the 2010 Lexington Farmers Market Survey at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Rural Sociological Society in January, two papers at the Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society in August (one on beginning farmers, the other on Kentucky Proud). One master's thesis on community supported agriculture in Kentucky was completed. One multi-state research project proposal on beginning farmers was submitted to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education this fall.
The Lexington Community Food Assessment website has become a resource for community organizations which work on sustainable agriculture and local food economies. One master's student completed his degree. Four master's students, who have become an integral part of this project, are expected to complete their degrees by April 2012. Kentucky Department of Agriculture offered a contract to one of the four students between June and December 2011 to carry out her thesis study on the impact of the Kentucky Proud program. Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has been providing support for another student's thesis research on challenges of and opportunities for beginning farmers.
Tanaka, K., M. Williams, K. Jacobsen, and M. Mullen. 2011. Sustainably Growing Farmers of the Future: Undergraduate Curriculum in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. In K. Bartels and K. Parker (eds.), Teaching Sustainability and Teaching Sustainably in Higher Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Wolff, B. and K. Tanaka 2011. Food Security in the Urban Bluegrass. Lessons Learned. Lexington Community Food Assessment 2009: Interview & Focus Group Results. Lexington, KY: Department of Community and Leadership Development, University of Kentucky.
Stiff, E. 2011. Sustainability, Justice, Health Marketing of Ethical Eating in Kentucky. Master's Thesis. Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky.