The OrganicA Project Progress Report: .Phase 1
June 2006 - March 2009
“Using ‘New’ Alternatives to Enhance Adoption of Organic Apple Production
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension”
Lorraine P. Berkett, Renae E. Moran, M. Elena Garcia, Heather Darby, Robert L. Parsons, and John P. Hayden
Universities of Vermont, Maine, and Arkansas
~ Major Funding provided by the USDA Integrated Organic Program ~
Additional funding from:
The Universities of Vermont, Maine and Arkansas
CSREES IPM Program
Vermont Tree Fruit Growers’ Association
Objectives and Long-term Goal
The OrganicA Project has the following three objectives:
Objective 1: Research Objective. Incorporate and evaluate ‘new’ apple cultivars and research-generated knowledge of apple ecosystem dynamics into organic production systems to determine sustainability and profitability.
In essence, the questions being researched in this project are:
- What are the opportunities and challenges of five apple cultivars identified as important to apple industry under organic apple production?
- Is organic apple production profitable and sustainable with the knowledge and tools we have and with these cultivars?
- Will there be a long-term difference in profitability between the two organic apple production systems growers are using to switch to new cultivars?
Objective 2: Extension Objective. Collaboratively develop and implement with stakeholders a multi-dimensional extension program that addresses their priorities and needs and improves the competitiveness of organic apple producers. This would include developing budgets and other informational publications for producers on organic apple production including a full risk analysis of the impact on production, marketing, financial, legal, and human resource risk.
Objective 3: Academic Education Objective - classroom and hands-on, experiential learning. Collaboratively develop a course on organic fruit production which effectively integrates classroom and experiential learning and which includes principles, practical aspects, and complexities of organic production.
The long-term goal of this project is to enhance adoption of organic apple production in New England through: (i) establishing an integrated and collaborative certified organic farm at the University of Vermont (UVM), a land-grant institution, for the development and implementation of research which addresses opportunities and constraints to organic apple production; (ii) implementing a comprehensive organic apple extension program for current and prospective apple growers within the region; and (iii) developing an educational program for both graduate and undergraduate students in organic fruit production.