5 elements to better work with resource-poor farmers: A.S.K. M.E.

portrait: Mark Bell
Mark Bell, Horticulture Innovation Lab Leader, Communications and Information Transfer

By Mark Bell, the leader for communications and information transfer at the Horticulture Innovation Lab. Bell is also the director of the UC Davis International Learning Center.

The “ASK ME framework uses 5 elements to help researchers, extension agents, development workers, and educators better work with farmers and meet their needs in a variety of situations.

A = Audience and needs. Assess the relevant needs and wants of the audience. Talk with partners, target groups and stakeholders using methods such as: focus groups, participant observation, field visits, surveys, interviews, key informants, and intuition based on field experience.

S = Solutions. Identify solutions that are appropriate for the farmers’ socio-economic and market circumstances. Test and validate solutions under farmer conditions.

K = Key message. Identify the key message related to each solution. What are those elements absolutely Continue reading 5 elements to better work with resource-poor farmers: A.S.K. M.E.

9 tips for incorporating gender into a research project

From the leaders of our new gender-focused project, of Penn State and Zamorano universities, here are some tips to get you thinking about gender-responsive projects:

group photo: Arie, Janelle and Leif
From left, Arie Sanders of Zamorano, Janelle Larson and Leif Jensen (both of Penn State) kicked off a Horticulture Innovation Lab project focused on gender equity and the horticultural value chain in Honduras.
  1. Incorporate and mainstream gender considerations from the inception of the project. Avoid “add and stir” approaches to gender, that is, simply adding gender as a factor without thinking through the range of ways it might infuse your work. A full incorporation might have impacts on decisions about staffing, scheduling time “in the field,” timing of outreach efforts, connecting with “gatekeepers,” and designing gender-specific activities.
  2. Be aware of the cultural context. Constraints that women (and others) face vary between and within societies, regions, localities and households.
  3. Be attentive to interactions between gender and other categories such as race and ethnicity, social class, and life-stage.
  4. When evaluating a specific intervention or issue, give careful thought to sampling design to ensure meaningful participation of women. Continue reading 9 tips for incorporating gender into a research project

14 steps to growing vegetables with conservation agriculture and drip irrigation

Manny Reyes, NC A&T
Manuel Reyes, professor, North Carolina A&T State University

As told by Manuel Reyes, professor in Biological Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University:

  1. Manually till and weed a small plot of land (no more than 200 square meters).
  2. Make vegetable beds.
  3. Find a source of mulch for your site. Mulch should not contain seeds and not grow vegetatively.
  4. Cut mulch and let it dry.
  5. Install drip irrigation on the site.
  6. Put dried mulch on the entire area including the furrows between the vegetable beds. Mulch should be at least 2.5 inches thick. Continue reading 14 steps to growing vegetables with conservation agriculture and drip irrigation