Kentucky State University agriculture professors receive nearly $60,000 to encourage organic agriculture
Kentucky State University’s Dr. Shawn Lucas and Dr. Marcus Bernard received a $59,626 grant to bring information about organic agriculture and careers in organic agriculture to minority and underrepresented stakeholders.
The three-year grant is funded by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Specialty Crop Black Grant, administered through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. The project is titled “Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Kentucky Organic Agriculture sector.”
“There is a need to foster diversity among people involved in organic agriculture,” said Lucas. “Increasing diversity among organic professionals may ultimately expand interest in organic products among a broader and more diverse consumer base.”
There are three main objectives of the project:
- Identify barriers that limit minority participation in organic agriculture by conducting a survey.
- Conduct outreach based on the survey results to attempt to openly discuss and potentially reduce barriers for Kentucky stakeholders. Additionally, present basic information on organic agriculture during this outreach and provide information on career opportunities in organic.
- Generate interest among minority stakeholders in organic agriculture careers, including production as well as organic inspection and certification review.
Lucas is an organic agriculture professor, while Bernard is a professor of rural sociology.