Professional Development Program






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Unit 1: Conceptual Framework and Historical Foundations of Sustainable Agriculture

Yet, the public has a tremendous influence on the viability and sustainability of agriculture. How is this influence exerted? Click on each of the headings below for more details on public influence and actions that can enhance the sustainability of agriculture.
Marketplace: Consumers’ food purchasing decisions
  • Consumers purchase local and regional brands in supermarkets.

  • Consumers purchase directly from farmers at farmers' markets, roadside stands, CSAs and other direct market outlets.

  • Farmers work with independent markets and co-operatives.

  • Restaurateurs purchase directly from farmers.

Public Policy: Elected officials, ballot measures, land use and tax policies, regulations and environmental protection laws
  • Elected representatives value agriculture and act and govern accordingly.

  • Zoning and other land use measures are passed to protect farmland.

  • Federal, state, and local government develop regulations and tax laws that support farmers and ranchers.

Education: K-12 curriculum and teaching, nutrition education, school lunch programs
  • Educators develop and implement curricula addressing food and farming issues.

  • Students are given the opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture on farms and at school- and community-gardens.

  • Farmers and educators host farm events to increase the public's understanding of agriculture.

Improving the sustainability of agriculture often requires increasing support for agriculture in general. That is a role all agricultural professionals can play in their communities:  Extension and NRCS, with local and civic connections, as well as access to university and USDA resources, are particularly well-placed for this task.
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