“After the success of our pilot case study on Loon Organics, a lot of readers requested that the next case study be about growing fruit or raising poultry,” says Sarah Stai of EcoSmith Consulting. “We were excited when Cindy and Jeff expressed interest in being profiled for a case study. Their operation allowed us to cover both fruit and poultry – among other enterprises – and explore how they are taking a highly integrated approach to small-scale farming.” Stai manages the project in collaboration with MISA and with support of advisors from University of Minnesota Extension, Renewing the Countryside, the Land Stewardship Project, and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.
The “Profiles in Sustainable Agriculture” project uses graphics and narratives to integrate personal stories of profiled farmers with detailed information on their practices. The case studies also include technical assistance via extensive tips and links to finance, production, and marketing resources. A Clover Valley Farms reader summed up the approach this way: “I liked having the dry technical details wrapped into feel-good stories; it made the content more accessible, the delivery more palatable, and it fit my learning style.”
The case studies are located at http://sustagprofiles.info. Site visitors are encouraged to provide feedback on the project by taking a 5-minute survey that provides data for fundraising efforts and gives case study users a say in what topics get covered next.