Mini-grant projects illustrate new and enhanced programming opportunities to be implemented across the Commonwealth in 2016. These projects reflect a number of capacity building and farmer-led approaches. Start-up issues these projects address include: gaining access to scale-appropriate markets and marketing channels; peer development for young and military veteran farmers; building ecological farming skills and experience for new farmers; and gaining access to farmer-knowledge through online networking and resource sharing.
Virginia Cooperative Extension - Clarke and Warren Offices in cooperation with Fauquier Office of Agriculture Development, the Loudoun Rural Economic Development Council and Loudoun’s Office of Economic Development proposed the Agriculture Education (AgEd) Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse will enable users to identify, review, and compare disparate agriculture related education programs available nearby. The primary features of the AgEd Clearinghouse are 1) the convenience of a single, online information source and 2) a user interface that enables learners to create a personalized learning plan that identifies and sequentially aligns independent programs. The primary benefit of the AgEd Clearinghouse will be its ability to empower VBFRC members and others to determine how, when, and where they apply life resources to obtaining knowledge. A secondary benefit will be its innovation value.
The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and this mini-grant initiative are sponsored through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Award Number: 2015-70017-22887. For more information, Dr. Kim Niewolny at firstname.lastname@example.org; 540-231-5784. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.