Learning Community

The GREW Project Learning Community sessions feature a variety of structures to create a shared space for more exploratory, active, dialogue-driven and cooperative learning.

Upcoming Sessions

Evaluation Co-Working Series
Tuesdays from 2:00-3:30 pm Eastern
April 20, May 4, May 18, and June 1

Are you struggling to make the time and space to work on evaluation tasks?

We know it is hard to make time for evaluation and we want to help you move forward on your plans. Join us every other Tuesday from 2:00-3:30 ET/11:00-12:30 PT from April 20 to June 1 in a co-working space where you can work virtually with others in silence towards your evaluation goals. If you are not familiar with this work model, think the virtual version of the quiet section of the library where you find a sense of community in focused individual work time.

We’ll start of by briefly sharing the tasks we plan to work on, then we will spend 55 minutes in quiet work, and then briefly share our next steps and future plans. This portion of the session will last for an hour and 15 minutes. For those interested in staying longer, the last 15 minutes will include Q & A with GREW Project Evaluators, to help you move forward with your projects.

You can join for as many or as few sessions as you want, no commitment necessary. PLEASE REGISTER if you would like to receive the Zoom information so you can join us.

In addition, a limited number of 30-minute support sessions are available to participants to connect with a professional evaluator about questions or road blocks. Support sessions will be held from 2:00-3:30 ET/11:00-12:30 PT on Tuesday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 25. Sign up will take place after the second co-working session, and will be available to those who attend at least one of the first two sessions. Slots will be filled on a first come first serve basis.

Please reach out to Katie Trozzo at ketrozzo@vt.edu if you have questions.

Join the GREW listserv to receive updates.

Previous Sessions

Farmer Training Program Planning and Evaluation: GREW Resources and Applied Lessons
Friday, November 6, 2020, 12pm -1:30 pm PT / 3pm-4:30pm ET

In this session, presenters explored helpful tools for the important but often overwhelming processes of program planning and evaluation for apprenticeship and incubator programs. An overview of GREW Tools was provided, describing each item and how it can be used. Apprenticeship program staff from CASFS share how they used these tools for developing a revised apprenticeship program. New Entry staff shared how they used these tools to develop their new outcomes evaluation design process to track and evaluate their incubator participants over New Entry’s 20-year program history. Breakout groups were not recorded, but a final group discussion at the end of the session is included (78 minutes). 

Presenters:
Jennifer Hashley & Kevin Cody (New Entry Sustainable Farming Project); Clare Riesman, Jan Perez & Leigh Gaymon-Jones (Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz), Elizabeth Cooper (Tufts)


Identifying Beginning Farmer and Rancher Needs in Times of Change: Exploring an Appreciative Perspective for Responsive Programming
Thursday, July 16, 2020, 10:00 am-11:30 am PT / 1:00pm-2:30pm ET

Assessing stakeholder needs is an important activity for program development, particularly in times of great change. In this session, we will explore how we might develop or refine programming through assessment that includes an appreciative lens – assessing strengths and assets as well as needs. In both small group (4 or 5 people) and large group discussions, we’ll address questions including:

  1. What have we been doing to identify farmer and rancher needs in this time of change and uncertainty, and what have we learned? 
  2. How can we integrate what we learn about needs into our programming? 
  3. How might we implement future assessment with an appreciative lens?

The goal for this session is that participants get ideas for doing future needs assessments at their organizations. This session will be most useful for those with experience implementing applied research (evaluation, needs assessment, etc.) at their organization, as this session is not a traditional training. However, anyone who needs to collect information to make programming changes is encouraged to attend.  


Reflection in a Time of Rapid Response: How to Better Pivot Beginning Farmer and Rancher Programming in Times of COVID-19
Thursday, May 7, 2020, 10:00 am-11:30 am PT / 1:00pm-2:30pm ET

Evaluative thinking is a practice meant to help people and organizations improve their programming – to be more effective, strategic and responsive. It is a practice that can be part of an overall evaluation plan, or used independently on a regular basis. It can be particularly useful in times of crisis and upheaval.

This GREW Project Learning Community session will provide a brief overview of evaluative thinking and a series of reflective questions that can help participants start to think evaluatively.. Participants will work with each other, in both small and large groups, to practice using these questions to explore how we are pivoting our programming, how we might refine these strategies, and how we can best use evaluative thinking to keep adapting. The goal is for participants to experience evaluative thinking so they feel inspired and able to implement this process at their organizations. 


Evaluation – Stories from the Field – Learning from Fellow Beginning Farmer Training Organizations
September 18, 2019, 10:30-11:30 PT / 1:30-2:30 ET

How has evaluation served your organization? Come share and listen to stories about how evaluation has really helped or served fellow organizations who train beginning farmers and ranchers. Leave with inspiration and ideas for enhancing the usefulness of evaluation at your organization. Session limit – 40 people. To encourage full participation, this session will not be recorded. Notes will not be provided for this session.