Organic agriculture has the potential to improve the environmental performance of U.S. agriculture, supporting increasing food demand and diversification of food consumption while improving the quality of ecosystems. Organic growers are challenged by a lack of Cooperative Extension agent support as agents have not served organic growers to the same extent as conventional growers nationwide. Rogers’ (2003) diffusion of innovations theory guided our phenomenological inquiry to explore (a) what agents experienced while supporting organic growers, and (b) how agents experienced providing support to organic growers in north Georgia. According to participants, the essence of the support offered to organic growers was an uneven bridge. Agents were willing to provide growers with the resources to support organic production; however, they lacked theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding organic agricultural production that would enable them to establish stronger relationships with growers. Findings from the study and the uneven bridge metaphor led to an original model to assist Extension agents in better serving the organic agricultural community.
Olbrick Marabesi, A.,
Kelsey, K. D.,
Anderson, J. C.,
Fuhrman, N. E.
(2021). Building Bridges: Improving Extension Support to Organic Growers in North Georgia.
Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9(1), 1.
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