The Vision of Cultivating Success™
The vision of the Cultivating Success™ program is to increase producer and consumer understanding, value, and support of sustainable local farming systems in Idaho and Washington through educational and experiential opportunities. Partners in this program strive to create strong communities with infrastructures that provide the resources and skills needed to produce local and sustainable food and agricultural products for the residents of the Pacific and Inland Northwest.
What is Cultivating Success™?
The Cultivating Success™ Program offers a series of courses that provide farmers and ranchers with the planning and decision-making tools, production skills and support necessary to develop a sustainable small acreage farm or ranch.
Cultivating Success™ connects beginning farmers with experienced farmers and exposes them to real world situations through a community-based, experiential approach to learning.
Whether you are a community member wanting to learn the basics of farming/ranching or an experienced farmer/rancher wanting to try something new - Cultivating Success™ provides educational opportunities for anyone interested in the knowledge and skills you need to be a successful small acreage farmer or rancher.
Courses and workshops are offered in various Idaho and Washington, to audiences that include new and experienced farmers, academic students, immigrant farmers, and agricultural professionals.
Goals of Cultivating Success™
The goal of Cultivating Success™ is to create and implement educational programs that increase the number and foster the success of sustainable small farmers and ranchers.
To accomplish this goal, a collaborative team from the University of Idaho, Washington State University and Rural Roots have developed a community-based education program in Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching.
Cultivating Success™ will help you learn what it takes to have a successful small agricultural enterprise, and help you to acquire many of the skills to make that happen.
Whether you're interested in sheep, chickens, berries, asparagus, goats, vegetables, herbs, potted plants, or value-added products, this unique program will help you make your small farm dream come true!
HISTORY OF CULTIVATING SUCCESS™
In the early and mid-1990s, interest in sustainable agriculture, small acreage farming, ranching and market gardening, was steadily increasing. At that time there were few opportunities to study sustainable small acreage systems in Washington and Idaho and agricultural programs offering on-farm experiential education were rare in Extension and on land grant university campuses. Undergraduate and graduate educational programs in food systems, sustainable agriculture and organic agriculture systems did not exist at either Washington State University or the University of Idaho, the states’ two land grant universities, at that time.
In 1997, Rural Roots, a small acreage farming organization, began partnering and pooling resources with the University of Idaho and Washington State University to offer a wide range of sustainable small acreage farming and ranching programs in the Inland Northwest (eastern Washington and North Idaho). These programs included workshops, farm tours and conferences, and conducting direct marketing research.
Program participants and small farmers and ranchers across the region were surveyed, formally and informally, to determine their educational needs and priorities. Consistently, we heard the need for: 1) more in-depth programs on all aspects of small acreage production and business planning; 2) to learn from successful farmers and others that are “doing it;” 3) more on-farm experiences; and 4) programs that allow people with full-time jobs and families to participate.
In Spring of 2000, Rural Roots and the University of Idaho Extension began focusing efforts in the area of hands-on small farm education with support from the Washington – Idaho Partnership 2020 project, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Partnership 2020 allocated funds for Rural Roots and University of Idaho Extension to create a pilot year-long on-farm education program for sustainable small farmers and ranchers. At the same time, Partnership 2020 funds were also awarded to Washington State University Crop and Social Sciences faculty for the development of two sustainable food systems courses.
One year later, a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant was awarded jointly to Rural Roots, University of Idaho (UI) and Washington State University (WSU) to combine the two sustainable food systems and the three on-farm education courses to offer a certificate in Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching. This program is now called Cultivating Success™.
Since 2001, we have continued to expand Cultivating Success™, modifying course offerings based on needs assessments and feedback from small acreage farmers and ranchers across Idaho and Washington. Overtime, the academic Cultivating Success™ courses were replaced by new sustainable food and agriculture undergraduate and graduate degree programs at both UI and WSU. The number of community-based Cultivating Success™ small farm programs continued to grow and by 2010 courses and workshops were being offered in-person across Washington and online across Idaho. As the Cultivating Success™ program has evolved, the focus on experiential learning has remained.
Cultivating Success™ workshops, courses and webinars are co-taught by UI and WSU Extension faculty, farmers and community experts and program content is continually being updated with the latest research, resources and skill-building tools and are delivered in-person and online via live webinars. Visit our Programs page to see our fall 2019 and winter 2020 workshop, course and webinar line-up.
The Idaho Cultivating Success™ program is still growing! As Cultivating Success™ enters its 21th year of offering sustainable small farm and ranch education, the Idaho Cultivating Success™ program will be developing two new, in-depth sustainable crop and sustainable livestock production courses. These courses, and a new approach to hands-on learning at four new teaching farms across the state, will be piloted in Spring and Summer of 2021. Cultivating Success™ believes life is better when you get your hands dirty!