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WSU’s Ostrom Wins Western Regional Excellence in Extension Award

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University associate professor Marcia “Marcy” Ostrom has been named the recipient of the 2007 Western Regional Excellence in Extension Award. Ostrom is the director of the WSU Small Farms Program that she established in 2000 and a member of the Community and Rural Sociology Department.

Marcy Ostrom. Click on image for high resolution download.

The honor is one of five regional awards and one national award given annually by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Ostrom will receive the award at NASULGC’s annual conference in New York City on Nov. 11.

The Excellence in Extension Award is presented to recipients who embody the extension mission of lifelong education and development in the communities they serve. Recipients are chosen for implementing high impact educational programs and demonstrating visionary leadership. They are selected for their anticipation of emerging issues for their clientele and the extension system, and their commitment to diversity.

“In seven years, Marcy has built the WSU Small Farms Program from the ground up into a model for engaging small producers and previously underserved groups in extension and research programs,” said Linda Kirk Fox, associate vice president and dean of WSU Extension. “She has brought together a statewide team of campus and county-based faculty, agency representatives and community partners to address issues of small farm viability and community food systems.”

Among her accomplishments is the development of a collaborative sustainable agriculture education program known as Cultivating Success. Offered in partnership with county extension offices and campus faculty in Washington and Idaho, Cultivating Success classes teach environmentally-based farm management strategies, as well as business planning, entrepreneurship, and marketing. The classes utilize local farmer mentors to share successful farming models and help students build a network of contacts in the agricultural community. To date more than 1,200 students have attended Cultivating Success classes. Approximately 89 percent of producers in Washington meet the federal definition for “small farms.”

Ostrom’s Small Farms Team includes bi-lingual Hmong and Latino outreach specialists who adapt educational programs for diverse cultures. Hmong refugees from Laos are a growing immigrant group that relies heavily on income from farmers markets. Latino farm owners constitute the fastest growing sector of new farmers in Washington state.

“Marcy has been tireless in her commitment to making the knowledge and resources of the university more accessible to underserved producers throughout the state, and in turn, that has benefited consumers by providing them with more sources of fresh, nutritious locally-grown foods,” said Fox. “She embodies the ideals of extension and is most deserving of this national honor.”