Agriculture and Human Values 17 (4):347-358 (2000)

Since its inception in 1988, the SAREprogram has sponsored hundreds of projects to exploreand apply economically viable, environmentally sound,and socially acceptable farming systems. Recognizingthat researchers often collaborated with producers andthat producer interest in sustainable agriculture wasincreasing, SARE's North-Central Region began directlyfunding farmers and ranchers in 1992 to test their ownideas on sustainable agriculture. The present articleis based on data from the formative evaluation of thefirst five years (1992 to 1996) of the NCR-SAREProducer Grant Program. The evaluation used acombination of mail surveys, non-response telephoneinterviews, and personal interviews.The evaluation revealed that the Program hassucceeded in showing that sustainable agriculturaltechnologies and practices can be viable andprofitable alternatives to conventional ways ofproducing crops and animals while simultaneously beingless environmentally damaging. On the other hand, thecontributions of the Producer Grant Program to thesocial and institutional spheres in which agricultureis embedded are less clear. Changes in these spheresare imperative for the success of sustainableagriculture, and for it to become more mainstream.Such changes cannot occur overnight, but they willremain the main challenge for SARE to tackle in thenear future
Keywords Definitions of sustainability  Evaluation  Farm goals  Problems and bottlenecks  Sustainable agriculture
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DOI 10.1023/A:1026584105482
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