Positive Community Impact
Posted: June 28, 2011
Penn State Extension is unique in its capacity to design, deliver and evaluate effective community-based educational programming. No other organization in the Lehigh Valley provides such a broad array of research-based educational opportunities and events. One example of this ability to not only understand community needs, but also to translate this need into contemporary, forward looking learning experiences, is the work being done with the ever-growing numbers of suburban farmers.
This large audience for agricultural education covers most aspects of farming including production, management and marketing. The families and businesses taking advantage of how Cooperative Extension operates includes everyone from large-scale, full-time, commercial producers, through to novice farmers and those starting to consider an agricultural enterprise. New programs are being designed to meet the unique needs of our new farmer neighbors. From apprenticeships at the Seed Farm learning production and crop management skills to practicing and growing direct marketing expertise at the Emmaus Farmers' Market -- the results of Cooperative Extension work and community partnerships is apparent. Community Supported Agriculture School, Marketing Meats, Buy Fresh Buy Local and Grow Your Market are all typically successful program offerings. Not only do the farmers participating in these programs benefit -- the entire community gains through enhanced quality of life, access to more food choices and the social advantages of community involvement and inclusion.