BFRDP Projects

Closing the Loop: Regenerative Agriculture on Minority-owned and Operated Small Farms
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $49,999
Grant Program: 2022 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Education Projects
Project Director: Ronnie Lipschutz
Organization: Sustainable Systems Research Foundation


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

This project seeks to provide new and beginning socially disadvantaged Latina/o farmers in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties with a series of six workshops focused on regenerative agriculture and techniques as well as small-scale technologies practices that can increase productivity, extend the growing season, protect and conserve natural resources and improve marketing and distribution. The workshops combine classroom and discussion style presentations, hands-on experiential activities and participatory action research. Participating      farmers received stipends to compensate for lost work time and travel expenses. 

2022-2023 was the second year in which these workshops were offered, at Whiskey Hill Farms in Watsonville, California and two other locations in San Benito and Santa Clara counties.  Twenty new, beginning and experienced Latina/o farmers—both women and men, many of whom do not speak English—participated. Dual simultaneous Spanish-English bilingual translation was offered at each meeting. In addition to UC SAREP support, additional funding was received from National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture (for 2022-23; #) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (for 2022-2024[1] ).

The research produced primarily sociological results (planting and best practices       research was disrupted by severe storms and flooding in January and March of 2023). 

?For socially disadvantaged farmers, much practical knowledge comes from historical praxis in specific environments, passed from peer to peer and generation to generation (Mayo, 2020). Some of these are common to all farmers; others may arise from lack of knowledge and skills (e.g., bookkeeping), mismatch between practice and local conditions, lack of connection to dominant agricultural social and professional resources and networks, bureaucracy and record-keeping (Lipschutz, 2022).
?Existing agriculture education pedagogy and resources tend to reflect the particular disciplinary expertise and experience of their creators, as well as cultural and social factors specific to their assumed audiences.
?Classroom-style presentations accompanied by written materials are suboptimal methods of instruction; real-time trusted group interactions, visual demonstrations and hands on application better support peer-to-peer exchange and learning.
?Printed and digital resources are not the preferred means of communication and learning among Latinx farmers.They do not have the time or language to read relatively detailed documents (many rely on their children to take care of technical and administrative issues).

Maybe insert an endnote with grant ID numbers for the additional funding?

Number of Participants: 20


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success