Journal of NACAA

Piloting Beginner Urban Farmer Online Training in Utah

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 16, Issue 2 - December 2023

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


Extension has expanded programming in urban agriculture. With the Utah State University (USU) online Extension Master Gardener Course, and programs such as the Urban Small Farm Conferences and Urban Homestead Expo moving to virtual platforms, interest and participation in gardening and small-scale agriculture has grown substantially. Increase in small-scale and beginner urban farmers throughout the state, along with consumer demand for fresh and local produce indicates need of additional learning platforms for growers. In 2023 USU Extension piloted a Beginner Urban Farmer Online Training program to meet demands for online learning and further support Utah’s small-scale grower though a self-paced learning platform.

Participants expressed that the self-paced component and media content was the most useful aspect of the course. Interestingly, there has only been a 26% completion rate since the course launched. Participants “strongly agreed” that the learning objectives were met, however, there is need for more peer and presenter interactivity, such as a message board and in-person field day opportunities. The Beginner Urban Farmer Online Training generates a small but steady amount of funds through course fees to allow Extension to continue to expand our content, based on participant feedback and follow-up assessments. Overall, online programming can be an educational tool, but it is important to integrate opportunities for interaction among small scale growers and course instructors.


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