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Environmental Education in Georgia brings state educators to Spring Valley EcoFarms

It’s late fall and raining; the rain turns to a light mist in the afternoon as a group of Georgia educators get off the city bus to tour and ask questions about how Spring Valley EcoFarms can help raise the environmental awareness bar in public and private schools.

This is a motivated group…enduring the elements. Just the kind of people that will help pioneer sustainable education in the Southeast; the group is armed with umbrellas, rain jackets, cameras and curiosity- all dosed with a good bit of energy to circle the periphery of the farm and many of it’s application plots.

Discussions arise about pasture management, forestry, water, insects and animals. The group is a dynamic one- featuring folks from a variety of backgrounds with different opinions on what it takes to integrate ecology into school programs in a broad sense at an earlier age.

Spring Valley is looking forward to an ongoing dialogue with EE in Georgia and it’s audience in order to assist “training the trainers”…the tenacious educators of Georgia who are striving to enhance the understanding of nature and how to manage it better for the good of everyone.  


Tour highlights growing interest in sustainable agriculture

Read the full article

April 9th, 2010


Common Ground: News from Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Spring 2010: Testing perennial legumes alley cropped between cash crops

Enviro-awareness: How to grow an environmentally conscious child

Story by Kathleen Frey

Green Solutions Column- Southern Distinction, May 2009 issue



Spring Valley EcoFarms is honored to have recently hosted a dinner for the members of the First Charter Board of the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology.



Athens, Georgia

It’s dusk and at Spring Valley EcoFarms there is a flurry of activity.

Guests arrive…among them Tom Landrum, Rutherford Seydel, Rebecca Bell, Ron Pulliam, Ralph Callaway, Wayne and Cookie King, Steve Weber, Tim Johnson, The Caldwell’s, The Bethea’s, Blaesing’s, McCollum’s, Laurie Fowler…there are Odum School professors, students, the Dean…the weather is perfect and music lightly bounces off of the trees. Dr. Carl Jordan speaks of the long legacy of research he’s been a part of and wishes to continue at SVE. Dr. Jeb Byers and Dr. Sonia Altizer each talk of their passions and why they are proud to be part of the Odum School of Ecology- the world’s first stand alone school dedicated solely to ecology. Beth Butler makes sure guests are warm while Bob Berkebile delivers a moving speech on the Green Building project for the school of Ecology and UGA. Guests share ideas throughout the evening and relax by the bonfire…and among the twinkling lights a new team is bound by the red Georgia clay mortar….





UGA Odum Ecology School Researcher creates tool demonstrating profitability of organic farming


Research at the Agroecology Laboratory at the UGA Odum School of Ecology has led to the creation of organic farming enterprise budgets.  Prior to this development, the economic decision-making tool used to estimate profitability was not widely available for organic production. The work was conducted at Spring Valley EcoFarms. It is a very pertinent development.

Click here to read this PR




Sustainable Agriculture Summit – Focus on the Future


The Sustainable Agriculture Summit was held on June 12, 2008 at Fort Valley State University in cooperation with the University of Georgia and Southern SARE . The purpose of the Summit was to obtain stakeholder input on the critical needs for sustainable agriculture in Georgia. There were 190 participants. Based on the survey responses (48% returned), it was a diverse group with 34% farmers,17% nonprofit organizations, 16% researchers, 13% educators, 10% Extension, 3% agricultural professionals, and 9% others that included retailers, produce buyers, and an agricultural loan officer. Small breakout groups identified 36 critical needs. After lunch, the large group clarified some of the topics that came out of the small groups. At the end of the day, participants were asked to vote for their top four priorities. The votes were tallied and weighted to obtain a weight rank.

The four top‐ranked priorities are summarized as:

1. Educating people about sustainable agriculture at a younger age

2. Developing more local meat processing facilities

3. Conducting place‐based research

4. Developing rural infrastructure such as canneries, seed processing, etc.

Several themes emerged from the small groups. Education is an important priority. The top ranked priority was education in sustainable agriculture for young people including FFA, 4H, and Young Farmers.

This priority included more farming classes for the new generation and capitalizing on the desire of young people to connect with the land. Another high priority was better education on sustainable agriculture for Extension agents. This included the need for Extension agents to have better information on cultural practices, weed, disease, and insect control as well as marketing and profitability. A third education topic focused on the need to educate children, consumers, and producers about sustainable agriculture as a lifestyle. Some participants thought education of public school teachers and legislators was also important.

One Farm at a Time…Real World Experience in a Holistic Environment

Spring Valley EcoFarms featured in Georgia Magazine: the Georgia University Magazine March 2008

Spring Valley EcoFarms is an innovative laboratory for students and the general population focusing on agriculture and the environment. It is a place where ecological science and theory are put to a real-world test.

Download the pdf article now!

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