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Perceptions of Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-Based Extension: A Case Study from Earth University, ...


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PERCEPTIONS OF FARMERS, ST UDENTS, AND FACULTY REGARDING UNIVERSITY-BASED EXTENSION: A CASE STUDY FROM EARTH UNIVERSITY, COSTA RICA By STEFFANY L. DRAGON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Steffany L. Dragon

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To my family, with love and appreciation

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would first like to express my appreci ation to my family: My mom and dad; brothers, Victor and Strad; and sister-in-law, Heather for their prayers and being incredibly patient and understa nding when I had to sacrifice all other aspects of my life (including spending time with them) to accomplish this endeavor. My advisor and graduate committee chai r (Dr. Nick T. Place) had the most amazing gift of being able to help me perc eive every challenge or difficulty as an opportunity to demonstrate my faith. The power of his positive energy and attitude helped me to put things in perspective, s ee the broader picture, and remember to enjoy successes (as I often forget to do). If it had not been for Dr. Peter E. Hi ldebrand, this study would not have been possible. Through his connections with EART H University, Costa Rica, I was able to transform a vision into reality and answer the calling to work in Latin America. I am grateful for him paving the way when I did not know how to get there. A heartfelt thank-you is extended to a tr uly remarkable man, Dr. B.K. Singh, for being such an inspiration. I cannot thank him enough for his support while I was in Costa Rica and beyond. Dr. Pedro Bidegarays assi stance in the planning st ages of this study was invaluable. I would like to thank him for giving of his tim e and wisdom so generously. Thanks go to Raul Botero, Egbert Spaan s, Nidia Mata, David Massey, and Juan Pinto who were all very helpful and supportive.

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v I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Carlos Hernandez, Coordinator of Research Programs at EARTH University, for providing the financial support required to carry out this study. In addition, a special thank you goes to the Tropical Conservation and Development Program at the University of Florida for all of their assistance and for providing funding for the study th rough the Curtis Wilgus Field Research Grant. A heartfelt thank you goes to all of th e EARTH students of the classes of 2003, 2004, and 2005. What a group of exceptional, talented, intelligent, kind, fun, and compassionate people. I will never forg et their friendship or their smiles. A special thank-you to Othon Ferna ndo Alvarez just for being him. A very special thank-you to Herminio Dove r, who was the best field partner that anyone could ever ask for. A true gentleman and friend who never failed to get us out of San Luis. A special thank-you to Brian Dillard for always believing in me and the incredible amount of support he gave me to follow my dreams. A heartfelt thank-you to Jill E. Barrera for her trust, confidence, words of wisdom, and friendship. Through the years, she has ta ught me so much more than how to ride a horse! The most important thank-you goes to G od, for He was the captain all along.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................xi LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................xiii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................xi v CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY...............................................1 Introduction to the Study..............................................................................................1 Overview of Costa Rica................................................................................................1 Geography.............................................................................................................1 Climate..................................................................................................................2 Environment..........................................................................................................2 People....................................................................................................................3 History...................................................................................................................3 Current Government..............................................................................................4 Economy................................................................................................................5 Background and Significance of the Problem..............................................................5 Situation of Extension...........................................................................................7 Educational Principles a nd Interpersonal Skills....................................................9 Statement of the Problem....................................................................................10 Purpose and Objectives.......................................................................................11 Operational Definitions..............................................................................................13 Limitations of the Study.............................................................................................15 Summary.....................................................................................................................15 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............................................................................17 Extension Systems in Costa Rica...............................................................................17 University-Based Extension in Costa Rica.................................................................20 The Need for Unbiased Extension..............................................................................22 Innovation-Diffusion Theory......................................................................................23 Extension Education...................................................................................................25 Farmer Rationale.................................................................................................31

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vii Conservation Technology...........................................................................................33 Components of an Integrated Agricultural System....................................................35 New Role for Extension......................................................................................40 3 THE RESEARCH PROTOCOL.................................................................................43 Introduction.................................................................................................................43 Research Design..................................................................................................43 Participants..........................................................................................................44 Instrumentation....................................................................................................45 Focus Groups.......................................................................................................46 Participant Data Collection.........................................................................................48 Farmers................................................................................................................48 Students...............................................................................................................50 Faculty.................................................................................................................50 Data Analysis..............................................................................................................51 Summary.....................................................................................................................52 4 RESEARCH RESULTS.............................................................................................54 Overview of the Chapter.............................................................................................54 Students...............................................................................................................54 Faculty.................................................................................................................55 Farmers................................................................................................................58 Identifying Components of an Integrat ed Agricultural System Utilized on Each Farm........................................................................................................60 Farmer Animal Resources...................................................................................60 Types of Plants....................................................................................................60 Frequency / Percentage Distribution and Reported Purposes of Forest Species.60 Lagoons...............................................................................................................65 The Biodigester...................................................................................................66 Nutritional Blocks...............................................................................................66 Compost...............................................................................................................66 Source of Information on Components of an Integrated Agricultural Systems..67 Knowledge, Practice, and Dissemination of the Integrated Agricultural System............................................................................................................68 Farmer Reasons for Adopting, Rejecting, or Discontinuing Use of a CIAS..............74 Reasons for Not Implementing Practice..............................................................74 Reasons for Discontinuing Practices...................................................................78 Other Potential Factors Affecting a Farmers Decision to Utilize CIAS............79 Trends by Community................................................................................................81 La Argentina........................................................................................................81 El Hogar...............................................................................................................82 La Lucha..............................................................................................................82 Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews............................................................82 Farmer Interview Findings: Objective 1..............................................................82

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viii Perceptions of the Role of the St udent Change Agents in the WEM.........................87 Farmer Perceptions..............................................................................................87 Student Perceptions.............................................................................................90 Farmer Perceptions..............................................................................................98 Student Perceptions...........................................................................................100 Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews..........................................................104 Missing Link in Communication.......................................................................104 Interpretation of Hard Worker.......................................................................105 Technical Knowledge........................................................................................107 Theoretical and Practical Knowledge Dyad......................................................107 Environmental Consciousness...........................................................................107 Professionalism..................................................................................................107 Trust as a Prerequisite for Communication.......................................................108 Social Benefits...................................................................................................108 Gender...............................................................................................................108 Students as a Link to Experts............................................................................109 Qualitative Findings from Farmer Focus Groups.....................................................109 Farmer Focus Group Findings: Objective 2......................................................109 Roles of the farmers and students..............................................................109 Qualitative Findings from Student Focus Groups....................................................111 Findings from Student Fo cus Groups: Objective 2...........................................111 How farmers perceived the students..........................................................111 How Students Perceived the Farmers................................................................112 Purpose of Course and Achiev ement of Stated Purpose...................................112 Positive Experiences..........................................................................................113 Negative Experiences........................................................................................113 Utilization of Time............................................................................................114 Faculty Perceptions...........................................................................................115 Student Perceptions...........................................................................................118 Farmer Perceptions............................................................................................119 Differences between what Should Be and what Actually Was .................................124 Paired t-test for the Role of the WEM......................................................................124 Faculty Paired Response Test............................................................................124 Student Paired Response Test...........................................................................124 Farmer Paired Response Test............................................................................129 Paired t-test for the Role of the Farmer in the WEM...............................................129 Student Paired Response Test...........................................................................129 Farmer Paired Response Test............................................................................129 Paired t-test for the Role of the Student in the WEM...............................................130 Student Paired Response Test...........................................................................130 Farmer Paired Response Test............................................................................136 Summary...................................................................................................................139 5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.......................................................................140 Introduction...............................................................................................................140 Objectives of the Study.............................................................................................140

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ix Objective OneGeneral Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the Use of Components of an Integrated Agricultural System by Participant Farmers................................................................................................................142 Innovators and the Human Factor..................................................................150 Socioeconomic Gap...........................................................................................151 Objective Two-General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the Perceptions of the Participants in Rela tion to Their Roles and the Roles of Other Participants and Objective Four-T riangulation to identify Consistencies or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents....................152 Major Themes and Triangulation of Stude nt and Farmer Responses: The Role of the Student.......................................................................................................152 Major Themes and Triangulation of Stude nt and Farmer Responses: The Role of the Farmer........................................................................................................155 Insights Gained From Farmer Focus Groups....................................................156 Objective ThreeGeneral Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the Perceptions of the Participants in Rela tion to the Role of the Work Experience Module (WEM) and Objective Four-Tria ngulation to identify Consistencies or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents....................157 Triangulation of Faculty, Farmer, and St udent Responses: The Role of the WEM..............................................................................................................157 Insights Gained from Farmer Focus Groups.....................................................162 Insights Gained from Student Focus Groups.....................................................163 Objective Four-Significant Differences within Groups of Respondents Between Their Perceptions of What Each Role Should Be and What It Actually Was and Recommendations for Addressing Opportunities for Improvement.............165 Participant Responses Regard ing the Role of the WEM...................................165 Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Farmer in the WEM............166 Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Student in the WEM............167 Objective Five-General Conclusions Rega rding an Association between Farmers Perceptions of the Student Change Agen t and the their Leve l of Adoption of CIAS....................................................................................................................168 Overall Conclusions and Implications for Extension........................................169 Overall Conclusions and Recommend ations for EARTH University...............170 Adoption and Perceptions of an Inte grated Agricultural System (IAS)............170 Quality Dialogue...............................................................................................171 Process vs. Product............................................................................................172 Unbiased Selection of Farmers..........................................................................175 The Role of the Student.....................................................................................177 A Possible Alternative Design for the WEM....................................................179 Responsive to Farmers Needs...........................................................................179 Recommendations for Future Research.............................................................180 Limitations of the Study...........................................................................................182 Summary...................................................................................................................183 APPENDIX A FARMERS REPRESENTATION OF EARTH-FARM RELATIONSHIP............184

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x B ADOPTION PRACTICES BY COMMUNITY.......................................................186 C MAP OF ARGENTINA...........................................................................................187 D LUCHA COMMUNITY MAP.................................................................................188 E HOGAR COMMUNITY MAP................................................................................190 F IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL MEMORANDUM..........................................191 G FARMER INSTRUMENT.......................................................................................193 H STUDENT INSTRUMENT (SPANISH).................................................................208 I FACULTY INSTRUMENT.....................................................................................217 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................222 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................226

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xi LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Demographic Characteristics of Students in the 2004 WEM................................56 4-2 Demographic Characteristics of Faculty in the 2004 WEM..................................57 4-3 Demographic Characteristics of Farm ers and Households in the 2004 WEM......59 4-4 Farmer Reported Behavior regard ing Components of an Integrated Agricultural System...............................................................................................62 4-5 Frequency and Percentage Distri bution of Farmers with Cattle............................63 4.6 Frequency and Percentage Distribu tion of Farmers with Chickens......................63 4-7 Frequency and Percentage Dist ribution of Farmers with Pigs...............................63 4-8 Frequency and Percentage Distri bution of Farmers with Horses..........................63 4.9 Frequency and Percentage Distribu tion of Farmers Growing Plants.....................64 4.10 Frequency and Distribution of Farmers with Forest Species.................................64 4-11 Frequency and Distribution of Pur poses for having Forest Species......................65 4-12 Frequency and Percentage Dist ribution for Biodigester purposes.........................66 4-13 Sources of Information about each Com ponent of an Integrated Agricultural System....................................................................................................................70 4-14 Integrated Agricultural System Knowledge / Dissemination................................73 4-15 Farmer Reasons for Not Implementing the Component of an Integrated Agricultural System...............................................................................................76 4-16 Farmer Reasons for Discontinuance of Components of an Integrated Agricultural System...............................................................................................80 4-17 Comparing Levels of Adop tion of CIAS by Community......................................82

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xii 4-18 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Student Change Agent in the Work Experience Program...............................................................................................88 4-19 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Student Change Agent in the Work Experience Module................................................................................................92 4-20 Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience Module...................................................................................................................94 4-21 Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience Module...................................................................................................................96 4-22 Farmer Perceptions of their Ro le in the Work Experience Module.......................99 4-23 Farmer Perceptions of their Ro le in the Work Experience Module.....................102 4-24 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module.................................................................................................................103 4-25 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module.................................................................................................................106 4-26 Faculty Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module......................117 4-27 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module......................120 4.28 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module.......................123 4-29 Faculty Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module................126 4-30 Student Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module...............127 4-31 Farmer Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module................131 4-32 Student Paired Response Test: Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module.................................................................................................................132 4-33 Farmer Paired Response Test: Their Role in the Work Experience Module.......133 4-34 Student Paired Response Test: Their Role in the Work Experience Module......134 B-1 Adoption Practices by Community......................................................................186

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xiii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2.1 Integrated Agricultural System Model.....................................................................40 A-1 Female Farmers Representati on of EARTH-Farm Relationship..........................184 B-1 Male Farmers Representati on of EARTH-Farm relationship...............................185

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xiv Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science PERCEPTIONS OF FARMERS, ST UDENTS, AND FACULTY REGARDING UNIVERSITY-BASED EXTENSION: A CASE STUDY FROM EARTH UNIVERSITY, COSTA RICA By Steffany L. Dragon May 2005 Chair: Nick T. Place Major Department: Agricultura l Education and Communication This study is in response to issues of sustainable development among small-scale farmers throughout Latin America and the Ca ribbean and specifically of importance within Costa Rica’s agricultural extension system This study is set wi thin the context of two broader issues: the situati on of small-scale farmers in Costa Rica that corroborate the need for Extension and the imperative to impr ove Extension services to these farmers. Limited-resource farmers in Costa Rica are in constant need of be tter ways to manage their farms with minimum investment and environmental impact. While innovations exist that were designed with this in mind, smallscale farmers continue to demonstrate a low rate of adoption of these sustainable technologies. Through the direction of the Community Development Program at EARTH University, a module referred to as the “Work Experience Module,” (WEM) has been designed and implemented as part of the curriculum for third year students. Through this module, student agricultural engineers

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xv and EARTH faculty act as change agents a nd work with local farmers to implement innovations such as an Integrated Agricultura l system (IAS). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Work Experience Module according to: 1) the perceived roles of the participants (farmers, stude nts and faculty) in the module and 2) farmer adoption practices of components of an Integrated Agri cultural System (IAS). The design of this study is a formative evaluation in the form of a mixed-method, correla tional case study. The researcher used the same instrument to serve as both a structured interview guide to collect data from farmers, and a census survey to collect data from students and faculty involved in the WEM in 2004. Focus groups we re also conducted with the farmers and students during the final stages of data coll ection. Data analysis consisted of basic descriptive statistical tests for the quantitative data. In order to identify consistencies or inconsistencies within groups of responses paired t-tests were run. Scores were assigned for responses according to a 3 pt. Likert-scale. In order to investigat e the possibility that the farmers’ perceptions of the student cha nge agent affects the farmers’ decisions to utilize components of an IAS, the researcher conducted quantitative statistical tests. Qualitative findings were analyzed using content analysis to identify major and minor themes which were used to clarify and/or s ubstantiate findings reve aled via the scaled questions from the interview guide. Many pos itive aspects of the module have been identified by its participants including the role of the students as: a means for cultural exchange; motivational factors for farmers to learn new skills; access points to information, research and expertise at the un iversity; and other soci al benefits. Some interesting opportunitie s for improvement were revealed and participants identified effective and ineffective aspects of th e module along with th eir suggestions.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY Introduction to the Study A mixed-method cross sectional case study was conducted to obtain the perceptions of farmers, students, and faculty regarding University-based Extension being carried out through the Work Experience Module (WEM ) at EARTH University, Costa Rica. The study uncovered factors of the specific module that the researcher will address at meetings, oral briefing, conferences, and through vari ous print media in order to improve the existing module and to recomm end effective aspects of the module for incorporation into othe r extension programs. Overview of Costa Rica To help set the stage, the following s ection provides a brief summary of the geography, climate, environment, people, hi story, government, and economy of Costa Rica. The information was derived from the World Fact Book, produced by the United States’ C.I.A. (2004) and Costa Rica Information (2003). Geography Costa Rica is considered to be part of Central America and the Caribbean. The Eastern coastline meets the Caribbean Sea while the Pacific Ocean is to the West. Both coasts lined with white and black beaches. Bordered by Nicaragua to the North and Panama as its Southern neighbor, Costa Rica is a link in the Central American Isthmus. Costa Rica is located at coordinates 10 00 N longitude and 84 00 W latitude, occupying 50,900 km2 (19,563 square miles), an area slight ly smaller than West Virginia.

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2 The interior of the country is structur ed by a backbone of volcanoes and mountains extending from the Andes mountain system. The m ountains are a part of the Sierra Madre chain which continues along the Western side of the Americas. This chain gives rise to four mountain ranges that r un North and South in Costa Rica. The Guanacaste and the Tilaran mountains are in the North, while the South is home to the Central and Talamanca ranges. The highest point is Mt Chirripo, at 3,797 meters above sea level. Costa Rica is part of the Pacific “Rim of Fi re” containing seven of the Central American Isthmus’ forty-two active volcanoes and a multit ude of dormant or extinct cones. Earth tremors and small quakes occur occasionally. Climate The climate of Costa Rica consists of Tropical and Subtropical regions. Costa Ricans experience a dry season from December until April and a rainy season that stretches from May until November. Annua l rainfall averages one-hundred inches nationwide with some mountainou s regions receiving only tw enty-five inches on exposed Eastern slopes. The highlands experience a rela tively mild climate, and temperature is determined by elevation rather than location. There is no distinct winter or summer. The mean temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the Central Valley, 82 degrees on the Caribbean coast, and 89 degrees on the Pacific Coast. Environment Located at the nexus of two continents (North America and South America) and two oceans, this confluence of land and water makes this region one of Mother Nature’s great bottlenecks. This diminutive nation is hom e to a relatively high, five percent, of the world’s biodiversity; contai ning greater than 800 species of ferns, 1,000 species of orchids, 2,000 kinds of trees, and 200 species of mammals. Current environmental issues

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3 include deforestation and land use change, la rgely a result of clearing land for cattle ranching and agricu lture; soil erosion; coastal and marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; and air pollution. People Costa Rica has a population of 3,896,092. Thr ee-fourths of this population live in the middle of the Meseta Central, known as th e Central Valley. The capital city of San Jos, along with the neighboring major cities of Alajuela and Heredia are located in the valley. The formerly mentioned cities also have the names of three of the seven provinces of the country. The others are: Cartago, Gu anacaste, Limon, and Puntarenas. Ninety-four percent of the population is white (including me stizo), three percent is black, one percent is American Indian, and another one percent is Chinese. The great majority of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic, followed by Ev angelical, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Protestants. Spanish is th e official language, while English is spoken around Puerto Limon. Literacy rate, as defined by persons ag e fifteen and older that can read and write is 95.9% for males and 96.1% for females. Th e median age for Costa Ricans is 24.9 years for males, and 25.8 years for females. An average of 2.38 children are born per woman. Life expectancy for men is 73.87 years, and 79.11 years for women. History Costa Rica has been known as a haven of peace. Since the nineteenth century, only two brief periods of violence hampered its democratic development. When Central America gained independence from Spai n on September 15, 1821, controversy existed over whether Costa Rica should join newly i ndependent Mexico or a new confederation of Central American States. A bitter quarrel en sued between leaders of San Jos and their

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4 counterparts in Cartaga and Heredia, until a brief civil war broke out. In 1823, San Jos emerged the victor, uniting Costa Rica with the new confederation. In 1824, Juan Mora Fernandez was the country ’s first elected head of state. His administration led to an increase in public education and encouraged the cultivation of coffee with land grants for growers. This gave rise to the Costa Rican elite, who were known as the coffee barons. In 1870, Tom Guardi a, a military dictator, seized power. It was not until the Post-Guardia years that Costa Rica began the transition back to democratic development. The next noteworthy era commenced when elected leader, Dr. Rafael Angel Calderon and his United Social Christian politic al party refused to step down after losing a 1948 election. A civil war broke out, the opposition being lead by a man known as Don Pepe. Supported by the Guatemalan and Cuba n governments, Don Pepe became the head of the Republic after the forty day war. Don Pepe founded the Partido de Liberacin Nacional (The National Liberation Party), wh ich makes up one of the two major political parties that exist in Costa Rica today. The other is the aforementioned United Social Christian party. Don Pepe died a national hero in 1990, his deeds and policies having set the scene for the social and economic progress that would earn Cost a Rica the reputation as a peaceful and stable island of democracy in one of the world’s most politically unstable and often war torn regions. Current Government In 1986, Oscar Arias Sanchez, a lawyer, w on the presidential election running on a peace platform. In 1987, five Central American presidents signed his peace plan in Guatemala City. This even earned Arias the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2002 Abel Pacheco, of the Social Christian Unity party was electe d president. Recently, he has announced Costa

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5 Rica’s support toward the United States’ wa r on terrorism. Costa Rica has no regular indigenous military forces, only an air section and the Ministry of Public Forces. As a democratic republic, the government exists wi th an executive branch made up of the president, two vice presidents, and a cabinet The legislative branch is the National Assembly, consisting of fifty-seven elected members. National elections are held every four years on the first Sunday of February. A 1969 constitutional amendment deemed that the president may only serve one four year term in a lifetime. This amendment was rectified in 2004 to allow presiden ts to serve for two terms. Economy Costa Rica remains largely an agricu ltural country, although its economy has expanded to include strong tec hnology and tourism sectors due mostly to the arrival of large international hotels and a strong interest in ecotouris m. For this reason, foreign exchange is increasing. Foreign investors re main attracted by the country’s political stability and high education levels. Industrie s include: microprocesso rs, food processing, textile and clothing, construction material s, fertilizers, and plastic products. Agriculture exports consist largely of: coffee, sugar cane, pineapple, bananas, citrus fruits, ferns, flowers, ornamental plants dairy farming, and beef ranching. Recently, decreased coffee prices and an overabundan ce of bananas have hurt the agriculture sector. Background and Significance of the Problem This study is in response to issues of sustainable development among small-scale farmers throughout Latin America and the Ca ribbean and specifically of importance within Costa Rica’s agricultural extension sy stem. This chapter will first establish two broader issues that provide the context for this particular study. The first is the situation

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6 of small-scale farmers in Costa Rica that corroborate the need for Extension, and the second is the imperative to improve Extension services to these farmers. Most farms in tropical areas of the world, in cluding Costa Rica, are small-scale, subsistence farms where the farm must produce most things n ecessary to maintain the livelihood of the family. Due to the higher susceptibility of de veloping countries to the problems of low agricultural productivity and environmental degradation (Mwangi, 1998), along with the high costs and difficulty in obt aining agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and animal feed, preserving the livelihoods of these systems is a ch allenge (Cabezas & Botero, 2001). Studies propose that the challe nge facing Extension in the 21st century will be the focus on sustainable technologies suited to the needs of small-scale farmers. The lack of resources characteristic of small-scale farmers implies a focus on low capital investment and low risk, rather than on maximization of production (Food & Fe rtilizer Technology Center (FFTC), 1985). The difficulty with whic h small-scale farmers are able to access markets for purchasing inputs and for sel ling farm produce must also be strongly considered by extension workers. Sustainabl e agricultural technol ogies / practices are innovations that make more e fficient use of natural resour ces by allowing the farmer to utilize inputs that are generated by the farm out puts (and are therefore organic in nature), thereby decreasing their dependency on purch asing external inputs that are often synthetic and detrimental to the environment. Even when these technologies exist, re source poor farmers, who constitute the majority of farmers in Costa Rica and are t hought to pose the most immediate threat to the sustainability of natural resources (Swanson, 1997), demonstr ate a low rate of

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7 adoption of sustainable technologi es. This may be due to the fact that the poorer farmers have few reserves to protect themselves in th e event of failure of an innovation. Little or no production surplus leaves a slight margin of error, if any. Therefore, it is suggested that risk aversion plays an important role in slowing the adoption of innovations (FFTC, 1985). Studies reveal that a farmer’s assessment of the level of risk associated with the adoption of a technology/practice is a co mposite of many factors, of which the characteristic of the innovation itself is only one. Others incl ude the farmer’s faith in the extension worker’s competence, previous experience with agricu ltural innovations, and the amount of information he/she has rece ived concerning the new technology (FFTC, 1985). An increased rate of adoption of sustainable innovations among small-scale farmers may be possible by uncovering obsta cles to adoption (which may include problems with the innovation itself) and identi fying successful educational methods to be employed by extension agents. Situation of Extension The prominent form of extension to small holder farms is agricu ltural assistance in the form of technology transfer intended to improve the livelihood of the farmers, their families and communities. The role of extens ion is not to directly generate knowledge (which is done at research centers, institutions, and agricultural colleges), but to transfer knowledge and instill learning, thereby assisting farmers to implement appropriate innovations, through education. In his book, Agricultural Extension Systems: An International Approach, Frank Brewer descri bes agricultural extens ion as the largest nonformal problem-solving educational delivery sy stem in the world that can serve as the link between people and knowledge (Brewer, 2001). However, great variability among extension systems is fou nd throughout the world.

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8 In developing countries, extension organi zations are often un der funded and lack linkages to appropriate and applied research (Brewer, 2001). The most commonly used extension system world-wide, and the dominan t form of extension in Costa Rica, the General Agricultural Extension System, is often carried out through a Ministry of Agriculture and has been criticized for lacki ng any type of feedback from clientele in reference to their needs and problems. Due to this lack of critical upward communication, research is rarely prioritized according to field evaluations and the needs of the clientele (Brewer, 2001). Therefore, the technologies and practices being diffused are often not relevant or applicable to the end user and are conseque ntly not adopted. There are a number of other criticisms and concerns about this type of system that will be discussed further in Chapter Two. For decades, U.S. Extension was based on the theory that if innovative farmers were targeted to adopt innovations, other fa rmers would soon follow, increasing the rate of adoption of new agricultural practi ces (Stephenson, 2003). Goss (1979) along with other researchers found that the Innovatio n-Diffusion Theory, that assumed that a “trickle-down” mechanism was always in pl ace and functional, be gan to fail and even result in undesirable consequences when applied to international development, particularly in Latin Amer ica (Stephenson, 2003). Everett Rogers, the father of the theory, later criticized his own rationale, stating that it presen ted a bias in favor of larger, wealthier, farmers who were easier to persuade into a dopting. Waugh, Hildebrand and Andrew (1989) found that rather than “tri ckling down” from innovative farmers to smaller-scale farmers, technologies often st opped with the farmers with more resources and higher environmental quality. Rather th an attributing the adop tion of an innovation

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9 to the “innovative” or “enterpr ising” character of the farm er, and the non-adoption to the “passive” or “conservative” farmer, studies be gan to identify the majo r cause of rejection of an innovation to be the lack of farmer resources to implement it (FFTC, 1985). Swanson (1997) states that future extens ion efforts will emphasize the quality of interaction between agent and cl ient instead of on the moveme nt of “messages” through a top-down hierarchical system or matrix of social networks, as was the focus of Roger’s Innovation-Diffusion Theory (Rogers, 2003). Educational Principles and Interpersonal Skills Studies have found that the educational proc ess that extension agents use to diffuse and implement innovations is a critical com ponent of their services to farmers (King, 1995). The farming systems movement, which will be further discussed in the next chapter, also emphasizes the importance of the problem solving process of education rather than just the communication of research results to farmers, in rural development (Waugh et al., 1989). Similarly, Hagmann et al (1996) identifies dialogue with farmers, farmer experimentation, and the strengthening of self-organizationa l capacities of rural communities as the major elements to improve development and the spreading of innovations. It has been sugge sted that considering pers onal, cultural, social and situational factors, and appropriately alte ring the diffusion process employed by change agents can remove barriers to adoption when appropriate and facilitate the implementation of sustainable technologies (Barao, 1992). Only when the factors that influence the farmers’ behavior are underst ood will extension workers be effective at diffusing innovations that respond to the need s of the farmers. Increasing farmers’ capacity for making decisions when presented with available innovati ons and establishing

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10 good rapport between the farmer and the extens ion agent are also beneficial (Mwangi, 1997). Statement of the Problem Due to high costs and difficulty in obtaini ng agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer and animal feed, and an ever increasing population in conjunction with a diminishing source of land and other natura l resources to devote to ag ricultural production of the world’s food source, utilizing the most effec tive and appropriate agriculture practices has become an issue for the Costa Rican governme nt and small scale farmers, often referred to as smallholders (Cabe zas & Botero, 2001). Farming practices that minimize the impact on natural resources and de crease the cost of farm inputs are utilized in integrated agriculture systems, but in order for them to be functional, the adoption of new, sustainable technologies is required. Res earch shows that small scale farmers in developing countries exhibit low adoption rates of these technologies and practices. Extension workers need to understand what drives the adoption or non-adoption of sustainable technologies in order to provide feedback on the innovations to the developers and to alter their educational proc ess with farmers in a way that will increase the appropriate implementation of them. Entities involved in extension effort s are constantly striving for improved educational methods. The aforementioned cri ticisms and concerns about the General Agricultural Extension System have lead to the recent interest of the Costa Rican government in the Educational Institutional Extens ion System. This type of system is also referred to as University-Based Extensi on and Chapter 2 provides more in depth information about it. Extension work thr ough an Educational Institutional Extension System is carried out in areas of Costa Ri ca by the private, inte rnational college of

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11 agriculture, EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Regin Tropical Hmeda) University, as well as the University of Costa Rica. Through the direction of the Community Development Program at EART H University, a module, “Sustainable Development with the Farm Family” has been designed and implem ented as part of the curriculum for third year students. Existing entities involved in Ex tension efforts, such as th e Ministry of Agriculture, may be able to improve their programs by in corporating components of the module, such as educational principles that are employe d by EARTH students and faculty in working with local farmers, into their organiza tion. Through the EARTH module, which is referred to as the Work Experience Modul e (WEM) from this point forward, student agricultural engineers act as change agents to employ the principles of knowledge, participation, and interpersonal characterist ics to accomplish the following objectives: 1) To understand the life of rural families vi a living with them, 2) To put technical knowledge to practice via the implementation of practices that promot e the sustainability of the farm, and 3) To establish a positive and respectful dialogue with the host family and to systematically communicate observations and points of view. This module seeks to emphasize the quality of interaction between the student change agent and the farmer instead of just the movement of “messages” through a top-down hierarchical system. Before recommending that components of a mode l or a model itself be used on a broader scale, an evaluation of the model is necessary. Purpose and Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Work Experience Module according to the perceptions of the participants and the level of adoption of alternative agricultural practices/systems among pa rticipating farmers.

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12 Objective 1: Identify factors effecting the farmers’ decisions to utiliz e components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) by: Objective 1a: identifying components of an in tegrated agricultural system being utilized on each farm Objective 1b: identifying the source from which the farmer became aware and learned about the component of an integrated agricultural system Objective 1c: identifying the farmer’s reasons for adopting, rejecting, or discontinuing the use of a component of an integrated agricultural system Objective 1d: determining if a relationship exists between the adoption of a component, or components of an integr ated agricultural system and household characteristics such as farmer gender, a nd availability of resources (such as land, labor, economic, and other) Objective 2: To determine the perceptions of bot h student and farmer participants in relation to their role and the role of other participants of the Work Experience Module, WEM through: Objective 2a: determining the perceptions of th e student agents and farmers with respect to their own present roles in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be Objective 2b: determining the perceptions of the farmers with respect to the present role of the student change agents in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be (in terms of educationa l processes based on the principles of: knowledge, participation, and in terpersonal characteristics) Objective 2c: determining the perceptions of the students with respect to the present role of the farmers in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be Objective 3: To determine the perceptions of the farmers, students, and faculty with respect to the present role of the WEM (especially in community development) and what they perceive the role should be Objective 4: To identify consistencies or inconsistencies within and between the groups of respondents (students, farmers, and faculty ) through analysis and triangulation of the data obtained by objectives 2 and 3

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13 Objective 5: To correlate the perceptions of the WEM with the level of adoption of CIAS Operational Definitions Change Agent: A change agent (or extension agent, extension worker) is an intermediary between the developers of th e original form of a technology and its end users. In this case, the change agents are the students and the faculty from EARTH University who were involved in the 2004 Work Experience Module. “End users” in this case refers to the farmers. Components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) : The identified components of the Integrated Agricultural Systems being implemented in the study-site are: animals, crops, forest species, nutriti onal blocks, compost, effective microorganisms, medicinal plants, the biodigester, and lagoons. Extension : In this study, extension refers to a nonformal, problem-solving educational delivery system that links people to knowledge. Farmer Rationale : In this study, this term refers to the basis upon which decisions are made regarding the use of an innovation. It includes reasons that reflect the farmer’s fundamental values, whether they are ec onomic, social, cultural, or other. Integrated Agricultural System (IAS) : Integrated farm systems that are characterized by the inte raction of different components su ch as agriculture, forest, and animals. In this system, the outputs produced from each component serve as an input for another component of the system. Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) : Translated from the “Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera.” It is the branch of Costa Rica’s central governme nt that carries out extension services throughout the country.

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14 Program of Community Development (PCD) : Translated from “Programa de Desarrollo Comunitario, PDC.” It is an EA RTH University program that involves local residents in the teaching / learning process, according to a unique educational model. The objectives of the program established by EARTH are to: 1) contribute to the improvement of the equality of life of th e neighboring communities of Guacimo county; 2) strengthen the social commitment of the students of EARTH University; and 3) integrate the community experience with the academic program. Small-scale Farmers : subsistence farmers who depend on the farm to produce most of the things necessary to main tain the livelihood of the fam ily. In this study, small-scale farmers are also referred to as “resource-poo r farmers.” These farmers have just enough resources to sustain the household with none or very little pro duction that surpasses household consumption or that is sold to pr ovide income to purchase other necessities, such as clothing or medicine. Sustainable Technologies / Systems / Practices : agricultural practices / systems that make more efficient use of natural reso urces by allowing the farmer to utilize inputs that are generated by the farm outputs (and ar e therefore organic in nature), thereby decreasing their dependency on purchasing exte rnal inputs that are often synthetic and detrimental to the environment. Work Experience Module (WEM) : This term was developed by the researcher for simplicity to refer to the 3rd Level Work Experience Module, “Sustainable Development with the Farm Family.” The WEM works w ithin the framework of the PCD and is a required university course for third year st udents. On a given Wednesday in a 28 week period (2 trimesters), half of the thir d-year EARTH students worked on community

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15 projects while the other half worked directly with small -scale, resource poor farmers through the WEM. Limitations of the Study The following are limitations of this study: 1. The results of this study are specific to the WEM at EARTH University, but the implications can be applied to Extension in general. 2. There may be subjective bias on behalf of the researcher as to how the data were interpreted which may influence the findi ngs. Being cognizant of this throughout the process served to minimize bias. 3. Based on the researcher’s experience a nd advice from students and faculty with experience in working with local, small-scale farmers, it was determined that a response scale including more than 3 choices would not be effective. Therefore, the interview guide consiste d of questions based on a 3 point Likert-scale with some open-ended questions. In order to maintain consistency for comparison, the student and faculty surveys were also crea ted with 3 point Likert-scales. Had the researcher been able to use a larger scale, there may have been more variability in the data. 4. Respondents were asked to recall and eval uate past experiences and self-report which may introduce measurement error. 5. Being a census study, data analysis was lim ited to nonparametric statistical tests. Summary This chapter justified the need and pr ovided background for the research study. The importance, timeliness and relevancy of th e research were described. The chapter explained the situation of small-scale farm ers in Costa Rica, illustrating the opportunity and necessity for Extension services to reach these producers. The chapter also suggested ways to tailor services more effectivel y to small-scale farmers by focusing on the development and implementation of appropria te sustainable agricultural practices and emphasizing low capital investment and low risk rather than production maximization.

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16 In this chapter, the importance of the rela tionship between the farmer and the extension worker and the educational process in whic h they engage were also emphasized.

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17 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This chapter provides an overview of the ava ilable literature pertaining to criticisms and failings of past extensi on efforts and some of the th eories and schools of thought upon which they were operating, and includes discussion on what opportunities exist to improve the efficacy of extension. It cons ists of the following sections: Extension Systems in Costa Rica; University-based Exte nsion in Costa Rica; Unbiased Extension; Extension Education; Innovation-Diffusion Theory; Farmer Rationale; Conservation Technology and a New Role for Extension. An explanation and description of an “Alternative Agricultural System” is also pr ovided, as it is being locally promoted to farmers around EARTH University as an altern ative to traditional, high-input, intensive agricultural practices. Extension Systems in Costa Rica As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the extension systems of most relevance to this study are the General Agricultura l Extension System and the Educational Institutional Extension System. The General Ag ricultural Extension System is the most common in the world and is found in governme nt organizations carrying out extension programs most often through a Mi nistry of Agriculture or Department of Agriculture branch of central governme nt (Brewer, 2001). The basi c assumption underlying this system is that technology and information is available that would help farmers. This is often a false assumption because linkages to ap propriate and applied research are lacking (Brewer, 2001). Technology transfer is the ma in goal of this system. Extension workers

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18 are employees of the government and are subj ect to government cha nges in priorities and policies. The Ministry of Agriculture focu ses on increasing production of agriculture in order to increase farmer income and the ove rall economy of the country. It assumes that the government knows what the farmers need so there is a tendency not to ask rural residents about self n eeds (Brewer, 2001). Lack of participation by farmers in program priorities and offerings is a barrier to adoption. Extension officers located in a given place may encourage farmers to adopt practices not well suited to their geographic area. The extension field staff may be more interested in meeting the expectations of their supervisors than meeting the needs of local people. Some reasons may be that they ar e not locally accountable and that they are working in unfavorable conditions. These conditions may be characterized by low morale, lack of mobility, virtually no e quipment, extremely low salaries, little transportation and lack of other resources (N agel, 2001). Out of necessity to support their families, extension workers may promote technologies whose adoption may not be appropriate for the farmer, but may put him or her in good standing with a supervisor. The General Agricultural Extension Syst em is sometimes perceived as having a contradictory nature of its goals. Public interest is to guide goal setting; however, the concept of public interest is problematic. It implies serving both rural farmers and urban populations; subsistence production and promoting cash crops for export; and serving the needs of specific groups, extendi ng assistance to high potential and resource-poor producers. Commonly, priorities are set that favor innovative indi viduals within the modern sector, neglecting the poorer segmen ts of the population (Nagel, 2001). Other motivations for working with more responsive and innovative clientel e include being able

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19 to fulfill production plans and improve job satisfaction or status, and being prejudiced against certain audiences Extension work under the Ministry of Agriculture is not purely educational, but is engaged in the following activities that may be detrimental to the relationship between the agent and the farmer : supervising repaymen t, policing disease control measures, and other regulatory pr actices (Nagel, 2001). Perhaps the dominant criticism of this type of system, found repeated ly in the literature is its lack of organized feedback from clientele. The Unites States Land Grant System is the most famous example of the Educational Institutional Extension System. It is university-based a nd develops programs using nonformal education through group needs asse ssment at the local level. It is usually organized through the College of Agriculture with county and multi-county offices that provide localized technical knowledge. The purpose is to link re search done at the university and different county lo cations to people in order to help them make their own decisions. The emphasis is on three compone nts: research, teac hing, and extension. Unlike the Ministry of Agriculture that must provide its own complete staff, this system has access to highly trained specialists and researchers employed through the university. While the system was originally designed to foster communication from working farmers to academic professionals who actually c onduct the research, whether or not this researcher-farmer interaction exists is de batable. Rather than focusing on practical education and technology transfer, United St ates universities have drifted toward fundamental research that develops scientific knowledge that does not necessarily lead to applicable technology, thus l eaving universities unprepar ed to maximize a systems approach for development (which will be discussed further) (Waugh, Hildebrand &

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20 Andrew, 1989). Recently, it has been suggested that the land grant system refocus on the basic extension principles upon which it was created, captured by th e following quote of Seaman A. Knapp used to describe the ra tionale behind on-farm experimentation and demonstrations conducted by the farmers themse lves: “What a man hears, he may doubt. What a man sees, he may possibly doubt. What a man does himself, he cannot doubt” (Seevers, et al., 1997). University-Based Extension in Costa Rica Only in the U.S. does the main extensi on function remain within the university. Other developing countries have integrated educational instituti ons into practical extension work. The distinguishing characterist ic of the Educational Institutional System is the active involvement of an institution whose primary function is formal education in the nonformal out-of-classroom role of extens ion education (Brewer, 2001). This type of system is also referred to as University-Bas ed Extension and its existence is emerging in Costa Rica as the MAG enters into increased collaboration with the University of Costa Rica, especially utilizing their research effo rts and experiment stations (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera, 2004). Extension work through an Educational In stitutional Extension System is also being carried out in the can ton of Guacimo, Costa Rica by the private, international college of agriculture, EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Regin Tropical Hmeda) University, as well as the Un iversity of Costa Rica. Th rough the direction of the Community Development Program at EART H University, a module, “Sustainable Development with the Farm Family” has been designed and implemented as part of the curriculum for third year students. Existing ent ities involved in Extension efforts, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, may be able to improve their programs by incorporating

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21 components of the module, such as educatio nal principles that are employed by EARTH students and faculty in working with local farmers, into their organization. The Program of Community Developmen t (PCD) at EARTH University is responsible for the development, administra tion, and implementation of the WEM. The following information regarding PCD and WE M was derived from documents produced by EARTH administration and faculty (EARTH University, 2004). The goal of PCD is stated as follows: “To implement an educatio nal model that involves local residents in the teaching/learning process, improving the qua lity of life in their communities while helping EARTH students to develop their knowle dge and skills.” It is important to understand the purpose of PCD because the WEM works within this framework. The main objectives of PCD are: 1. To contribute to the improvement of the quality of lif e of the neighboring communities of Guacimo county through doi ng such things as: organizing training sessions, conducting participat ory research, bringing technical assistance to the people, promoting small business ventures strengthening community organization, and diversifying ec onomic activities. 2. To strengthen the social commitment of the students by facilitating the incorporation of students in al l levels of rural development 3. To integrate the community experience w ith the academic program by promoting and facilitating the effective integration of professors and students in community development Through the EARTH module, which is referr ed to as the Work Experience Module (WEM) from this point forward, student agricu ltural engineers act as change agents to employ the principles of knowledge, participa tion, and interpersonal characteristics to accomplish the following objectives: 1) To unders tand the life of rural families via living with them, 2) To put technical knowledge to practice via the implementation of practices that promote the sustainability of the farm, and 3) To establish a positive and respectful

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22 dialogue with the host family and to system atically communicate observations and points of view. This module seeks to emphasize the quality of interaction between the student change agent and the farmer instead of just the movement of “messages” through a topdown hierarchical system. Some of the f unctions of the module include the direct assessment of clients’ needs, user –orien ted research, quality training for those in extension work, and a strong linkage betw een academic education, field practice, adapting new sustainable technologies to the local environment, and commitment to rural community development. The Need for Unbiased Extension There is ongoing concern that extens ion systems are becoming privatized, especially in developing countries This is due to the lack of revenue for public services and evidence of wasteful use of public exte nsion resources (Evenson, 1986). In response, those working in public extension should be aware of the opportunities for improvement and address them. Recently, the private sector has become increasingly active in the development and transfer of proprietary technologies, including genetic, chemical, biological, and mechanical inputs and the comm ercial supply of technical information. If the private sector is driven by a profit motive and lacks the re sources to look at all aspects of production and the environment, they ma y not address serious socio-economic and resource management problems (Swanson, 1997). Nagel (2001) feels th at “It is obvious that the private sector will be active only in the case of reasonable returns and they will not be concerned with public interest issues.” Public extension, therefore, has the opportunity to play a crucial ro le in taking these aspects into consideration. The selective participation of the private sector warrants th e need for public sector responsibility in the provision of information for the public good. The collective action of public and non-

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23 profit organizations will be essential to satisf y the needs of those in disadvantaged areas. Private extension will be acces sible only to those who can pay, neglecting many resource poor farmers (Nagel, 2001). Public extension is necessary to reach these smallholders free of charge, supplying them with educa tion and innovation opti ons for reducing the adverse environmental effect s of farming practices. Innovation-Diffusion Theory U.S. Extension was based on the theory that if innovative farmers were targeted to adopt innovations, other farmer s would soon follow, increasi ng the rate of adoption of new agricultural practices (Stephenson, 2003) Everett Rogers, the father of this “Innovation-Diffusion Theory”, later criticized hi s own rationale, stating that it presented a bias in favor of larger, wealthier farmers who were easier to pe rsuade into adopting. Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew (1989) agreed with this criticism, stating that rather than “trickling down” from innovative farmers to smaller-scale farmers, technologies often stopped with the farmers with more res ources and higher environmental quality. Chambers (1987) provides an example to subs tantiate this. He de scribes how the success stories of hybrid rice and wheat in India and China gave the wrong impression to a generation of scientists, that agricultural scientists knew what technology would be beneficial for farmers in all conditions. Th e same varieties of cr ops failed on rainfed, resource-poor farms because the innovation was actually not just the rice or wheat, but an entirely different growing environment consistin g of irrigation, pestic ides, and fertilizers unattainable to the small farmers. An impor tant lesson learned was that more productive technologies did not ensure equitable shar ing of income (Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1989).

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24 A new type of extension called Farmi ng Systems Research-Extension (FSRE) began to emerge that incorporated the id ea that most technol ogies were “location specific” and that that adapta tion to cultural, ag ricultural, and institutional conditions found in different locations must necessa rily precede adoptio n (Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew, 1989). Due to the lack of resources characteristic of small-scale farmers, FSRE emphasized the importance of low capital i nvestment and low risk rather than on maximization of production (FFTC, 1985 & Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1989). Studies suggest that risk aversion plays an important role in slowing the adoption of innovations (FFTC, 1985). Poorer farmers have few reserves to protect themselves in the event of failure of an innovation. Little or no production surplus leaves a slight margin of error, if any. Farmers assess the level of risk associated with the adoption of a technology from the following other factors: the farmer’s faith in the extension worker’s competence, previous experience with agri cultural innovations, and the amount of information he /she has received concerning the new technology (FFTC, 1985). Some portions of Diffusion-Innovation theo ry are still viable while those listed above, remain problematic. To a degree, the characteristics of th e innovation, stages of the adoption process, and the effect of inte raction between farmers on adoption behavior are considered to have maintained viability. Other issues that are considered theoretical flaws are listed below (Stephenson, 2003): 1. Pro-Innovation Biasimplies that an i nnovation should be diffused and adopted by all farmers. The acts of adopting and i nnovating are considered positive, while rejecting is always unfavorable. Sometim es innovations are re jected because of sound reasoning by the farmers. 2. Individual-Blame Biasimplies that i ndividuals who do not adopt the innovation are blamed for their lack of response rath er than blaming the development agency for its lack of appropriate response to farmers’ needs.

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25 3. Issues of Equalitynegative impacts of the theory that had not been considered. For example: consequences in terms of un employment, migration of rural people, equitable distribution of incomes, and the widening of socioeconomic gaps. Swanson (2001) adds that extension agencies need to recognize and serve different types of clients defined not in terms of “adopter categories” as Rogers suggests, but by their access to markets, degree of commercialization and relative dependence on agriculture to sustain the household in order to be effective. Criticisms of the traditional theory also began to arise when it was applied to international development. Goss (1979) obs erved the following undesirable consequences that resulted from applying innovation diffusion theory in developing countries (Stephenson, 2003): It is assumed that benefits resulting fr om the adoption of innovations spread and become homogeneous. But experience from Latin America showed the gap in inequalities actually widened. Aggregate statistics for development projec ts may show improvement in elements like production, but commonly the farmers most in need of help received little benefit. Non-adopters are affected by the diffusion of innovations process because larger farmers increase production as a result of adopting and innovation, resulting in a decrease in prices received by all farmers. Extension Education While agricultural extension in developing c ountries has historically been to foster rural development by communicating knowledge to farmers, the questions of what knowledge should be communicated, how it sh ould be communicated, and to which farmers it should be communicated in orde r to achieve effective and appropriate innovation adoption remain issues. For years, efforts have been made to answer these questions through what appears to be a process of tria l and error.

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26 The development paradigms emerging from the late 1930s and post WW2 period gave rise to a conception that dominated conventional rural development for quite some time. It consisted of a top down approach, where development was viewed as something that governments did for or to people (International Institute for Sustainable Development [IISD], 2003). In accordance with this ideology, programs were developed by a centralized entity that included fixed objectives and specifi cations on how the program was to be implemented by the extension agents at the local, farmer level. The objective was to accomplish the most efficient transfer and dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge. “Early diffusion stud ies assumed that adoption of an innovation meant the exact copying or im itation of how an innovation had been used previously in a different setting” (Rogers, 2003, p. 180). Extension has historically considered the products of agricultural science research as improvements, an assumption that Rogers refers to as “pro -innovation bias” (2003, p. 106). This assumption has lead to extension’ s promotion of innovations without properly considering the appropriateness to the farmers and has resulted in destructive consequences, especially for small scal e farmers (Rogers, 2003). For example, in California in 1962, a mechanized tomato harvester was introdu ced to farmers. Thousands of small farmers were unable to afford the expensive harvesting machine. They were unable to keep pace with the increased effi ciency of the producers with the tomato harvester and were consequently driven out of tomato production (Rogers, 2003). The conventional approach to development assumed that farmers were ignorant and lacked the abilities to unders tand situations, analyze them, propose solutions and evaluate results. Consequently, a paternalistic and superior attitude was present among extension

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27 personnel (Cristovao, Koehnen, & Portela, 1997). Participation of the farmers, who the programs were allegedly to serve, was not a pr iority, if even a cons ideration (Cristovao, Koehnen, & Portela, 1997). Researchers have iden tified this as a fault that contributed to the failures of development to improve the li ves of the majority of the poor of the ‘developing’ world (IISD, 2003). Eventually, in the 1970s and ‘80s, a more participatory approach to development that incorporated some insights from the fi eld of social anthropology of the 1950s (IISD, 2003) emerged. Minjauw and Romney (1996, p. 26) noted: Dissemination has traditionally been seen by research and extension as finding effective ways of transferring tec hnology, and passing on relevant, usable information to farmers. In complex situations, where farmers need to adjust to a changing situation-such as crop produc tion, soil nutrient management, nutrient health and production-this approach has been shown to be inadequate because farmers are generally insufficiently i nvolved in identifying problems, or in selecting, testing and evalua ting the possible solutions. Some underlying principles of participati on include rethinking the structure of power and partnerships between developmen t agencies, experts and farmers. An innovation should not simply be viewed as a ne w technology that is de livered to a target group; it is a new practice th at is developed through an exchange of information and through collaboration between the stakeholders (Mayoux, 2001). With greater farmer participation, the emphasis is on a learning process where the innova tion is continually adapting to new contexts and needs. The ke y to meeting the needs of people and even knowing in which direction to push more sc ientific research is through obtaining feedback and responding to it. Perhaps if t hose who were promoting the adoption of the hybrid varieties, in Chambers’ example, ha d involved the farmers, both parties would have realized early on that it was not feasible.

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28 Farming Systems Research-Extension (FSRE) emerged as a type of applied, farmer oriented, agrobiological resear ch, supported by the socioeco nomic sciences in a team effort that included extensi on responsibilities. Rather th an embracing the paternalistic nature of previous extension efforts, this approach was centered on its flexible nature which emphasized fitting technologies to th e cultural, agricultural, and institutional conditions found in different settings (Wa ugh, Hildebrand & Andrew, 1989). In order to understand the concept of “farming systems, ” an explanation is necessary. Farmers work to manage the resources on their farms in a way that transforms them into useful products either for home consumption or for sale or trade. Certain constraints direct the farmers’ decisions regarding crop and livesto ck enterprises and the methods and timing of cultivation, harvesting, and husbandry. Over time, it has been found that farmers with similar sets of resources tend to make simila r choices regarding the management of their farms. These farms can be grouped together into homogenous “f arming systems,” or domains for recommendation. Farming Systems Research-Extension places an imperative on on-farm research because it brings farmers and researchers in to contact and promotes dialogue between them, which consequently makes the development of technologies more efficient and appropriate (Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew, 1989) Interestingly, th e on-farm research conducted through this type of pr ocess is carried out by resear ch teams with much of the same responsibilities that the student and f aculty change agents are charged with in EARTH University’s Work Experience Module. FSRE research teams are responsible for: 1) the integration of technologies into the local farming system; 2) studying alternatives at the local leve l; 3) evaluating technology at th e local level u nder real farm

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29 conditions and with the involvement of the fa rmer; and 4) working in collaboration with extension in the evaluation of the technologies. FSRE does not consider the role of extension to simply communicate the results of scientific research to farmers, but empha sizes the importance of the problem solving process of education and so cial organization in agricu ltural and rural community development (Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1989). Other studies support the finding that the educational process that the exte nsion agents use to diffuse and implement innovations is a critical component of exte nsion services (King, 1995). This entails how and to whom extension efforts are carried out in the process of di ffusion. Barao (1992) has identified the failure of extension or ganizations to recognize and address the psychosocial component of technology adoption as part of the edu cational process as a barrier to technology adoption. The adoption pr ocess involves an inte rrelated series of personal, cultural, social, and situational factors (Barao, 1992). Research shows, for example, that the opportunity to witness an investment in a technology by a fellow producer with similar facilities and resources helps farmers in the decision-making and guides the changes that they ultimately adopt. Similarly, Hagmann identifies dialogue with farmers, farmer experimentation, and the strengthening of self-organizational cap acities of rural communities as the major elements to improve development and the sp reading of innovations (1996). Several types of participatory techniques have been used, ranging from rapid rural appraisal, participatory rural appraisal, focus groups and structured workshops (Chamala & Mortiss, 1990). Many of these partic ipatory methods are utilized by FSRE interdisciplinary on-farm research teams, w hose performance depends on their dialogue

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30 and relationship with farmers and their families in order to understand the milieu of social/economic factors that influence th e farmers’ behavior (Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1987). Mwangi (1997) also recognizes the importance of establishing a good rapport between the farmer and extension agen t and increasing farmers’ capacity for making decisions when presente d with available innovations. Farming Systems is based on themes that were neglected in previously used approaches to development that resulted in failure, in order to prevent undesirable consequences and promote a research and exte nsion process that is more responsive to the needs of clientele through an efficient approach to develo pment. These themes are: 1) Mutual trust and respect. This generates confidence and removes barriers to farmer involvement; 2) Involvement. The farmers identify their own problems and gain a sense ownership in the process; 3) Communicati on. Farmers want researchers and extension workers to know as much possible about th eir specific work environments, problems and challenges; and 4) High expect ations. When farmers percei ve that the researchers and extension workers understand thei r situation, they have higher expectations regarding the benefits they will receive through their co llaboration with researchers and extension personnel. Participatory methods are fa rmer focused. If innovation efforts have a research focus rather than a farmer focus, the end pr oduct might not ever reach a notable level of adoption because it does not fulfill a genuine need. For example, some innovations that worked well in a laboratory fail in the fi eld. Participatory appro aches ensure dialogue among all actors on the local level in order to help extension agents and researchers understand the needs and perceptions of the fa rmers. Only after the rationale of the

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31 farmers is understood will successful adopt ion of sustainable technology take place (Vanclay, 1994). Farmer Rationale There has been considerable debate c onsidering the rationale behind a person’s decision to adopt a new technol ogy. Rationale is dependent u pon the values of the social system to which a person belongs. Webster ha s divided rationale into two types: formal and substantive (Vanclay, 1994). Formal rationa lity has been considered as the explicit calculation of economic factors in monetary terms and the subordi nation of all other goals or values in life (Mooney, 1988 cited in Vanclay, 1994). It re presents what the Kwara’ae of Malatia in the Solomon Islands ne gatively refer to as ‘ani mani capitalism’, (literally, “life determined by money”). Kwa ra’ae villagers view the current approach their government has taken to rural developmen t as one sided rather than holistic because it stresses economic goals over social or cultural goals (Gegeo, 1998). Substantive rationality on the other hand, is not constraine d to purely formal or goal-oriented rational calculation (Mooney, 1988 cited by Vanclay, 19 94). This notion of substantive rationality implies the legitimacy of value-oriented action. The two forms of rationale are demonstrated practically in what the Kwara’ae villagers perceive as the difference between business ( bisnis ), which employs formal rationale and development ( diflopmen ), which utilizes substantive rationale. What distinguishes one project as diflopmen and another as bisnis includes the attitudes and goals of the adopter/ participan t: for example, perceiving the implementation of a practice or technology as something to serve the ba sic needs of the community and family, with profit balanced by social goals, versus the prac tice as exclusively profit-oriented and the farmer who adopted it as socially superior. The latter example is in congruent with the life

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32 represented by the philosophy of Kwara’ae people (Gegeo, 1998). The Kwara’ae people are living evidence that the rationale behi nd their decision-making is not strictly economical. J.D. van der Ploeg (1990, 1993) has been cl assifying farmers into different groups based on the concept of farming styles. He has found that groups of farmers differ in their notions of the most appropriate ways to farm in order to fulfill a variety of objectives relating to environmental management, animal welfare, and farming techniques, not just profitability (Vanclay, 1994) Research on implementation of technologie s supports the need to look beyond agricultural, biological and economic issues towards psychosocial factors that influence change (Barao, 1992). Tr aditionally, agri cultural extension has been based on the presupposition of calculation of farmer s, or formal rationality. In fact, some farmers do not adopt some innovations, whic h according to formal rationality, are obviously economical, while other farmers do a dopt other practices which are clearly not economical. Therefore, it may behoove ex tension agents to acknowledge that much farmer decision-making is not based upon form al rationality. Vanclay suggests that agricultural research and exte nsion should place more valu e on farmers’ concerns and opinions especially in relation to environmental management and sustainable agriculture. Even when profitability is the main fact or in deciding whethe r or not to adopt a technology, some foresight into economic sustainability of the innovation may cause the farmer to reject it. Through trial and erro r, farmers have also become aware that increased production of a certain commodity (due to perhap s an agricultural innovation) is likely to saturate local markets and lower pr ices even further. Higher prices may often be available at city markets, but these are usually paid to the middleman instead of the

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33 producer, who is frequently constrained by tr ansportation, time, and a closed network of dealers. Once again, a farmer’s decision to reject a technology under these conditions is a rational response (FFTC, 1985). Conservation Technology Studies suggest that particular attention be paid to farm er rationale in the adoption of environmentally sound practices (B arao, 1992, Kumuk, 1995, &Vanclay, 1994). The severity of environmental problems associat ed with agricultural production gives an unprecedented imperative to extension (Vanclay, 1994). While extension or change agencies embody an enthusiasm for and co mmitment to new methods of extension, sentiment still exists that extension is not wo rking and that farmers are reluctant to adopt the conservation technology that is bei ng promoted (Kumuk, 1995, & Vanclay, 1994). Many development agencies have recently implemented new programs in Costa Rica that have achieved minimal success. For example, a recent project to teach small farmers to prevent soil erosion by planting tr ees was intended to result in wide spread diffusion of the practice to the rest of the country. This did not occur and in fact, 80 percent of the original farmers abandoned the new practice (Sequeira, 1998). This situation, where an innovation produces seemi ngly favorable results but is rejected by small farmers, is common and often leav es development agencies puzzled. While technological and other innovations may be a way to achieve sustainable changes that lead to desired outcomes, often they are eith er rejected or abandoned by the farmers. Rather than focusing on the adoption of a simple, single technology, the promotion of a conservation innovation may require th e adoption of systems thinking and whole farm planning. Ethnographic Linear Programmi ng (ELP) is a tool that embraces this concept and allows the selection of a combina tion of farm and non-farm activities that is

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34 feasible given a set of fixed farm constrai nts (Hildebrand & Cabrera, 2003). This method treats the entire farm household as a livelihood system and maximizes a particular family goal while achieving other household goals, such as food security. The concept of the Integrated Agricultural System (IAS) requires such systems thinking where each component takes advantage of another, using everything that is produced as an input rather than creating waste or relyi ng on external resources. For example, integrated farms may produce organi c fertilizer from crop and animal waste, have a biodigester for biogas and organic fert ilizer production, and have a natural water purification system for fish production using aqua tic plants that can be fed to livestock. In order for an IAS to function, appropriate t echnology must be implemented and utilized. The need for new sustainable farming alte rnatives acceptable to and appropriate for small-scale farmers is a critical issue for regional and national development in Costa Rica (Cabezas & Botero, 2001). Resource poor farmers in Costa Rica are in constant need of renewable resources to provide alternative sources of energy with minimum investment and environmental impact (Singh, 2003). Worldwide recognition of ecological degradation and diminishing natural resources has lead to the exigent fo cus on conservation and cal ls for the continued development of sustainable technologies. The pu blic sector of extension is encouraged to concentrate on system-based technologies th at will enable resource poor farmers to increase their productivity while decreasi ng the environmental impacts of farming practices (Swanson, 1987). This would maintain natural resources a nd help reduce rural hunger, poverty, and the socio-economic costs of rapid rural-urban migration. Due to poor farm management practices, Costa Rican farmers face dilemmas concerning animal

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35 waste, deforestation, soil infe rtility, high cost of farm input s, and others. While these resource poor farmers are in need of sustai nable technologies, effi ciency of appropriate implementation of these technologies must be achieved through the efforts of extension agents. Components of an Integrated Agricultural System Congruent with their goal to help improve the quality of life of local communities, EARTH University is promoting the use of inte grated farm systems, a concept that they view as a new way to achieve sustainable ag riculture, which they have identified as a critical issue for the region and national de velopment (Personal Communications with Dr. B.K. Singh on June 24, 2003). At EARTH, they refer to such systems as Integrated Agricultural Systems (IAS), and they are usually characterized (in the region near EARTH) by the interaction of different co mponents such as agriculture, forest, and animals. Pedraza and Chara (1997) explain it succinctly (as cited in Cabezas & Botero, 2001, pp. 2) in the following quotation, “In this system, each of the components takes advantage of the other, using everything that is produced as an input. Instead of waste (resources in the wrong place because of an in efficient use or ill-applied process) these become inputs for another component of the system, forming a complete cycle of resources inside the property [farm].” Th e IAS addresses 3 type s of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. Economica lly, the farm benefits because inputs are generated from farm outputs relieving the fa rmer of his/her exclusive dependency on external resources. Environmental impacts are minimized because the use of organic materials diminishes the use of synthetic products. Socially, an IAS provides an alternative to farmers in order to maintain a profitable efficient farm that preserves its resources for generations to come (Cabezas & Botero, 2001).

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36 The researcher had the opportunity to inte ract with Raul Botero, a scientist and recognized expert on Integrated Agricultura l Systems, during her preliminary study at EARTH in 2003 and in 2004. Listed below are possible components of an IAS and a description of their potential role in the sy stem. These components will be referred to throughout the rest of this document. Animals (cattle, horses, chickens, pigs). An imals are a very important component of an integrated production system. They provide a basic source of nourishment for the farmers, whether through production of meat, e ggs, or milk. As part of an IAS, animal manure can be used to produce organic fertili zer and fuel for energy biogas that the farmers can cook or heat with. Birds can take advantage of forages from aquatic plants, juice of sugarcane and eart hworms. Their manure can be used to make compost to fertilize crops. Crops (grains, vegetables, medicinal plants fruits, pasture). Crops are important for human consumption, health remedies, and as forages for animals. Forage produced by crops can be used along with molasses, vege table oil, fiber from crop residues, urea as a non-protein nitrogen source, salt, and lime (for adherence) to make Nutritional Blocks to feed livestock in order to increase reproduction and milk production rates. Forest Species Trees have a variety of uses in an IAS. They include: augmentation of the soil with organic matte r, nitrogen fixation, preventing erosion, protection from rain, wind, and sun, the pr oduction of fruit and forages, wood for construction and firewood, a natural habitat fo r animals, aesthetic benefits, conservation of fauna and flora, and being a source fo r biological control of crop plagues.

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37 Organic Fertilizer -Crop residues and animal manure are used to produce animal fertilizer. Effective Microorganisms (EM) EM consists of mixe d cultures of beneficial and natural occurring microorganisms that he lp the decomposition process of organic materials, and during fermentation will produce normally unavailable organic acids, such as lactic acid, acetic ac id, amino acid, malic acid and bioa ctive substances and vitamins. A key ingredient in this pr ocess is organic matter which is supplied by re cycling crop residues, green manures and animal manure (Retrieved November 10, 2004 from http://www.wmnz.com). Compost Compost is produced when organic matter is broken down by bacteria and fungi. Compost contains an organic materi al called humus which assists the soil in holding nutrients, lessens the n eed for chemical fertilizers and helps prevent erosion by improving soil structure (Texas A&M Univers ity System, 1995). Improved soil structure also helps the growth of r oots which hold soil in place. Worm Compost – worms eat organic waste and tran sform the nutrients into a state that is more readily used by plants. Bokashi Dry fiber shavings are used for the bedding of corrals, stables, and pig sties. Waste materials generated while th e animals are confined (food residues and manure) mix with the shavings. It is treate d with EM and assists the composting process, ensuring that organic waste breaks down into nutrient rich substrate. Bokashi also reduces labor required to clean animal enclosures, and minimizes unpleasant odors, flies, and weeds (EARTH University, 2004).

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38 Biodigester The Biodigester is a tank that can be fed slurry of animal waste, in which a process of bio-degradation of this organic material o ccurs under anaerobic conditions. It initially produces two end products : methane (biogas) and organic fertilizer. When biogas is piped to an appropriate location, it can be burned and used as a source of energy for such activities as cooking or inc ubating piglets. The solid and liquid residues can be used as fertilizer. Re sidual waters increase the producti vity of aquatic plants, high in protein, that are used for animal feedi ng (Cabezas & Botero, 2001) and be stored in a lagoon system These plants are also used to de contaminate the waste water in the lagoons, which can then be used in fish ponds Pollutants are transformed as waste water flows through the system creating biogas from the anaerobic fermentation process; liquid fertilizer for food crops; providing nutrients to cultivate aquatic plants which serve as animal forage and natural decontamination ag ents for the water that can subsequently serve as a clean habitat for fish. Throughout this process, not onl y are energy, nutrients and organic matter present in farm wastes be ing recovered, but the system also helps to resolve problems like management of human and animal excrements that pollute the ecosystem and promote plagues and diseases, and use of firewood th at causes breathing problems and has negative environmental impacts (FARMESA, 1996). The Biodigester is presently in the diffu sion stage throughout Latin America and is being used to aid in the transformation of small scale farms into self-sufficient units, where the majority of the necessary inputs to maintain the system are produced by the system itself (Cabezas & Botero, 2001). The Biodigester is an age-old technology and has undergone a number of adaptations as it has been introduced and modified in Colombia, Vietnam, Africa, India, and China.

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39 Integrated Agricultural Systems are ofte n very visible, especially when the biodigester is utilized. Agro-ecotourism initiatives have become prevalent in Costa Rica and being able to present a functional IAS is pe rceived as a draw for visitors. Farmers in the area have even considered having fish ponds teeming with Tilapia to provide visitors with the option to fish. Some other examples of how components of an IAS may function as part of Agro-ecotourism efforts include the growing and processing of medicinal plants, making and selling soaps and shampoos, and providing meals for tourists, cooked with biogas technology. An IAS can easily be depicted through a diagram (Figure 2.1) that visually represents the conversion of th e outputs of one system into the inputs of another. The arrows entering each component represent an input needed for that component and the arrows departing from each component represent an output. Most components depend upon inputs that were generated from anothe r component’s output. Hence, it is an “integrated” system.

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40 MARKET HOUSEHOLD LABOR TOURISM CROPS vegetable garden Medicinal plants Ornamental plants fruit trees banana plant ANIMALS chickens swine cattle horse tilapia ducks dogs LABOR FOOD CROP RESIDUES FERTILIZER BIODIGESTER AQUATIC PLANTS FUEL WORM, BIOMASS COMPOSTING WASTE BIOGASRogelio & Jorge work outside the farm CLEAN WATER $ Figure 2.1. Integrated Agricultural System Model New Role for Extension Extension is faced with new challenges cons tantly. In order to remain an effective entity, it must be flexible enough to adapt a nd respond to those challenges. The need for agriculture and rural information in the form of advisory servi ces is likely to intensify in the foreseeable future (Garforth, 2001). Agricu lture faces the challenge of keeping pace with an increasing population and few reserves of potentially cultiv able land. Extension will remain an essential tool for promoting ecologically and socially sustainable farming practices. Extension workers and farmers shoul d be jointly involved in the verification and adaptation of new technology; thus, exte nsion workers must respect farmers as experimenters, developers, and adapters of technology, devoting more effort on communication with them in their local area.

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41 The future will call for more able, inde pendent, and client-oriented extension workers who emphasize the quality of interaction between them selves and their clientele. Issues in extension used to be centered ar ound production efficiency; now an increasingly complex matrix, called sustainability, that in cludes agriculture that is environmentally sound, humanly safe, bureaucratically regulat ed, politically controlled, and strongly influenced by world markets has been adde d to the agenda (Smith, 1992). At the same time, expectations of extension agents contin ue to rise. They are expected to practice more participatory methods, recognize and respect gender issues, identify indigenous needs and help with solutions, and serve as a link to the world outside the village. Improved Adoption of Innovations th rough Improved Extension Education Recent literature suggests ways in wh ich the educational process employed by Extension can be altered to facilitate th e appropriate implementation of sustainable technologies. They include the follo wing: segmenting the farm populationcommunications should be tailored to all cate gories of farmers to promote awareness and information (Rogers, 1995); farms should be segmented according to type, size, resources and other characteristic s, and programs should be directed specifically to these segments; encouraging participation and appropriate technologyfarmers s hould be involved in problem identification, and development and implementation of innovations by including their local knowledge (Hagmann, 1996); fo cusing on the tough onesfocus should be shifted from working with wealthy innovative farmers to working with less financially advantaged farmers (Stephenson, 2003); consid ering consequencesextension should be aware of its impacts on clientele/farm ers (Stephenson, 2003); encouraging systems thinking-the adoption of environmental agricu ltural innovations should be promoted in a

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42 holistic way (Vanclay, 1994); re alizing that sometimes farmers have sound rationale for opting not to adopt an innovation (Fos ter, 1995, Vanclay, 1994, and Barao, 1992); developing a motivated and enthusiastic att itude toward the innovation when appropriate (King, 1995); building mutual trust (Mwa ngi, 1998); establishing rapport with stakeholders (Mwangi, 1998); being sensitive to farmers’ needs, constraints, and opportunities (Mwangi, 1998); having good techni cal preparation and self-confidence (Mwangi, 1998); and being a good listener (Mwangi, 1998). Summary This chapter provided a foundational underpin ning for the research on Universitybased Extension. The chapter explained the pres ent extension systems that are viable in Costa Rica and posited University-based Extension, especially through EARTH University, as a possible avenue through wh ich to help extension programs focus on unbiased service available to all, incorpor ate effective and participatory educational principles, consider farmer rationale, and appropriately develop and implement sustainable agricultural practices / systems. It emphasized embracing a new role for extension in order to more effectivel y help farmers solve their problems.

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43 CHAPTER 3 THE RESEARCH PROTOCOL Introduction This study was conducted to evaluate EARTH University’s Work Experience Module (WEM) according to the perceptions of the participants and the level of adoption of components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) among participating farmers. This chapter provides an overview of the research design; an in-depth analysis of each of the areas of data collection: participants, instrumentation, da ta collection procedures, and data analysis used that corresponded to each method of data collection employed. This chapter explains how each gr oup of participants functions in the WEM and why and how each data collection method was utilized fo r each respective group to obtain the most comprehensive data relating to the study objectives. Research Design The study “The Perceptions of Farmer s, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-based Extension: A Case Study from EARTH University, Costa Rica” is a formative evaluation in the form of a mixe d-method, correlational cas e study. According to Ary (2002), case studies are appropriate when the objective is to study a very large number of variables in great depth. This is the case. The researcher used the same instrument to serve as both a structured inte rview guide to collect data from farmers, and a census survey to collect data from st udents and faculty involved in the Work Experience Module (WEM), offered through EARTH University, in 2004. Focus groups

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44 were also conducted with the farmers and students during the fina l stages of data collection. Participants The study participants consisted of student s, faculty, and farmers. All third-year students and faculty at EARTH University, and farmers, who participated in the 2004 WEM were targeted in order to obtain comp rehensive data about the WEM. On a given Wednesday within a 28 week period (two tr imesters), half of the third-year EARTH students worked on community projects while th e other half worked directly with small scale, resource poor farmers through the WEM. After about 14 week s, the halves would trade assignments. The researcher target ed all of the students, N=94 for the study. A total of nine faculty members were i nvolved in the WEM and asked to complete a survey. This group included: two program chairs, one heading the program during the first phase and the other in charge during the second phase of the 2004 WEM; five faculty members, each of whom supervised one of the three communities (La Lucha, El Hogar, and La Argentina) either during the first or second phase of the module; and two support staff members who helped plan and or ganize the module and wo rk directly with the program chairs. A total of 31 farmers from the rural communities near EARTH voluntarily participated in the 2004 Work Experience Modu le and received student change agents on their farms either during the first or s econd phase of the module. The researcher interviewed a farmer from each of the house holds. Of the 31 farmers, 11 were from the community La Lucha, seven were from El Hogar, and 13 farmers were from La Argentina, the closest community to EARTH.

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45 Instrumentation The researcher developed the instrument according to the format utilized in the Student Perceptions of Intern ational Involvement Programs a nd Activities Survey (Irani & Place, 2004) in order to capture information related to the three sp ecific objectives of the WEM and principles relevant and timely to extension. The que stionnaire was created to be able to obtain information on the same concepts from three different audiences: the farmers, faculty, and students. The instrument was submitted to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board and was approved (Appendix G-I). While the faculty and students were able to complete surveys, data were collected from the farmers through interviews for two reasons. The first is that many of the farmers were illiterate. The second is becau se the interview provided the opportunity for elaboration through collateral conversations between the researcher and farmer that helped to explain and clarify responses and capture responses that the researcher did not anticipate and incorpor ate in the prepared questions. Patton (2002) recommends the use of a structured interview when the research er only has one chance to interview someone. The use of a guide also conveys efficient use of the participants’ time. The researcher was the only interviewer and used consistent wo rding, probing, and tec hniques. Therefore, error due to multiple interviewers was elimin ated and the validity of the study, enhanced. Relevant sections of the questionnaires were dupl icated for each target group to be able to compare responses between them. Based on the researcher’s experience a nd advice from students and faculty with experience working with local, small-scale fa rmers, it was determined that a response scale including more than 3 choices would not be effective. Therefore, the interview guide consisted of questions based on a 3 point Likert-scale with some open-ended

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46 questions. In order to maintain consiste ncy for comparison, the student and faculty surveys were also created with 3 point Likert-scales. The structured interview guide was reviewed by a panel of experts at the University of Florida, which consisted of faculty member s and doctoral students. Slight changes in format and choice of words were made accord ing to recommendations. Two professors at EARTH University also reviewed the inst rument. Once in Costa Rica, persons (a bilingual professor at EARTH Un iversity and 3 university stude nts) that were similar to, but not part of the study groups, were chosen to pilot test the instrument to improve the reliability and validity of the instrument and to detect any ambiguities or other problems before employing it. This was particularly important because th e researcher’s native language was English, and she translated th e instrument to Spanish. A preliminary interview with a local farmer was also conducte d using the guide. Th rough this process, a few questions were removed from the orig inal questionnaire and translations were improved. Focus Groups Focus Groups were conducted with farmers and students during th e final stages of data collection to provide the opportunity for them to elaborate on the questions from the interview/survey and to speak candidly. The focus groups were also chosen as a method of data collection because the researcher recognized them as a way to “obtain high quality data in a social context where people can consider their own views in the context of the views of others” (Patterson, 2002). Krueger & Casey (2000) found that through focus groups, interactions among participants enhance data quality because participants provide checks and balances on each other to prevent false or extreme views. Other benefits of focus groups include their low cost, and the fact that the extent to which there

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47 is a relatively consistent view or great di versity of views can quickly be assessed. The intent of the focus groups was not to find a st atistical percentage or include participants based upon their statistical respresentativene ss, but to generate a list of issues, suggestions, problems, or praises to serve as the basis for more in-depth, future research (Patton, 2002). Diverse, yet consistent qualitative met hods derived from Barham and Sullivan’s PRA Field Manual (2002) were employed durin g the focus groups. If groups were large enough (at least 6 people), the facilitators di vided the large group into sub-groups for the farmers to discuss their responses to some of the questions. This was done in order to make people who had a tendency not to speak in a larger group more comfortable and more apt to voice their opinions. When a similar representation of female and male farmers was present, the facilitators also divided the group by gender to capture any differences in responses and to provide a co mfortable environment for people to express their opinions without being overshadowed by anyone. When the groups were smaller, questions were posed to the entire group and one facilitator would record the responses on flip-chart paper posted on the walls. Farmers were asked to pictorially repr esent their relationship with EARTH and other entities, along with how students intera ct on their farms and in their communities by drawing pictures and Venn diagrams (Appendix A and B). Farmers also had the opportunity to spatially evaluate what EA RTH was or was not accomplishing and what it should or shouldn’t be involved in by drawi ng dots with permanent markers where they felt it was most appropriate on a line represen ting a continuum. Farmers shared the markers so one color would not disclose a pa rticular farmer’s identity and all farmers

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48 participated. After responses were given for each idea, question, or scenario, the facilitators encouraged open discussion among the group members. The student focus groups were conducte d similarly, although they were not separated by gender. In fact when creating subgroups, the facilitators tried to have representation of each gender in each one because some activities required each subgroup to come up with a consensus ranking. Since st udents were able to write, they were also given time to reflect on ques tions individually, write them down on slips of paper, pass them in anonymously, and then the group would discuss them as the f acilitator read them aloud. Participant Data Collection Farmers In order to become familiar with the fi eld, the researcher spent a couple of weeks accompanying faculty and students to the farm communities and updating community maps. When possible, EARTH faculty intr oduced the researcher to farmers in the community to facilitate communication, but me ntioned that she was a neutral party with no affiliation to EARTH. The researcher then hired a driver in order to go to each household of the three communities that pa rticipated in the 2004 WEM to conduct interviews. The researcher started with La Lu cha, then El Hogar, and finished with La Argentina. Each interview took between an hour and a half and tw o and a half hours. Upon returning from each day of interviewi ng, the researcher tran sferred handwritten notes and observations from each interview to field notes in a Word document. A neutral, native-born Costa Rican faculty member with experience in participatory investigation with smallholders was identifi ed to co-facilitate focus groups with the researcher. Through a series of meetings a nd planning sessions, th e researcher and co-

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49 facilitator reached a mutual initial understandi ng of how the focus groups would be conducted and what the objectives were. With the help of the driver, the researcher visited each potential site for the focus gr oups, and obtained permission to reserve the facilities. This involved presenting a detailed letter describing the activity and for whom it was held. One focus group was held at the community agriculture center and another at the community center. At the end of each farmer interview, the re searcher asked the farmers to participate in the focus group and described its purpose. Es pecially in La Lucha, the researcher had verbal confirmation from most of the farmers that they woul d attend. The researcher also sent e-mails with flyer attachments to each of the students who worked in the appropriate communities asking them to remind their fa rmers of the focus group, the purpose, date, and time. The researcher found that while so me of the students remembered to tell the farmers, the majority did not. Therefor e, two days prior to the focus group, the researcher went house by house to personally invite the farmers to the session. In El Hogar, the researcher actually brought the fl yers with her and presented them to the farmer after the interview. Because most of the farmers were illiterate, the researcher made the flyers very simple and asked the younger family members who could read to do so and to remind the farmer closer to the da y of the focus group. The researcher followed the same procedure for La Argentina, but also attended an EARTH workshop with the farmers where she had the opportunity to speak with some of the farmers and remind them of the focus group. For each focus group, the researcher secured refreshments for the farmers and paused for a break midway through the session in order to provide a

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50 comfortable environment for the farmers that was conducive to their engagement in the discussions and activities. The co-facilitator and the re searcher met after each focus group session in order to collaborate, merge notes, transl ate, and discuss results. Students With permission from the appropriate prof essor, student surveys were distributed, completed and collected during class in a 3rd year course. Surveys were distributed with the assistance of a university student to those students who did not have that particular class, completed at their convenience and return ed directly to the re searcher or via an internal mailbox at EARTH University. Two focus groups were held for the students. Since the participat ion of farmers in the communities of El Hogar and La Lucha was smaller than that of La Argentina, students who worked in the former two co mmunities were combined into one focus group. The researcher sent e-mails to all of the appropriate students to advertise the focus groups and ask for participation. Flyers were posted, announcements about the focus groups were made while administering the su rveys, and several students assisted in motivating other students to attend. Twelve st udents participated in the first focus group and 8 participated in the second. Faculty The researcher visited the offices of th e faculty to explain the study and ask for their participation. The researcher asked the faculty to complete the questionnaire at their convenience and to place it in the researcher’s internal mailbox. Introductory and followup e-mail messages were also sent to each of the faculty members. A professor who collaborated in the study also sent an email to his colleagues, encouraging their

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51 participation. All surveys were administered and returned to the researcher within a week. Data Analysis Data analysis consisted of coding data and entering it into a preset SPSS quantitative analysis program. Basic descrip tive statistical analysis tests were conducted for observation of means, modes, frequencies, and standard deviation as a method of data examination. In order to identify consistencies or in consistencies within groups of responses between what their perceptions of what each role should be and what it actually was according to their first-hand experience as pa rticipants in the module (Objectives 2 and 3), paired t-tests were run for each should be actually was pair. Scores were assigned for each answer (yes, maybe, no) according to a 3 pt Likert-scale with th e values of 2, 1, or 0, respectively. The measure that was analyz ed was the mean difference between the paired scores at the .05 significance level. This level of significance was chosen because the study was exploratory rather than experi mental in nature. Therefore it was more critical to reveal any potential relationshi ps between variables and moderately risk making a Type II error than to be extremely conservative regarding making a Type I error. This level of significance is accepted a nd commonly used in research in the social science and education fields (Ary, 2002). In order to investigat e the possibility that the farmer s’ perceptions of the student change agent affects the farmers’ decisions to utilize a CIAS, the researcher conducted quantitative statistical tests. First, the rese archer used a data re duction technique through SPSS statistical software to test the reliability of aggregating like questions into three different constructs: knowle dge, participation, and interp ersonal characteristics.

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52 Chronbach’s Alpha was used to test the stre ngth of each construct. Crosstabs analyses was used to generate contingency tables for adoption variables and each of the constructs. Then, Chi-squared values were used to dete rmine if an association existed at p > .05 between the adoption variables and the quest ions corresponding to each construct. Qualitative data from the interviews and focus groups were checked for quality and consistency by the researcher through discussing results a nd preliminary findings with faculty and students at EARTH. The qualitative data were checked an additional time for completeness and accuracy and then entered into a Word document and categorized for subsequent content analysis. Content anal ysis is defined by Pa tton (2002, pp. 453) as “any qualitative data reduction and sense-maki ng effort that takes a volume of qualitative material and attempts to identify core cons istencies and meanings.” Findings included major and minor themes that were used to clarify and / or s ubstantiate findings revealed via the scaled questions from the interview guide. Summary This chapter provided an in-depth descripti on of the protocol utilized for this study, which employed two primary data collection procedures: questionnair es were completed either through serving as a guide for farmer in terviews or as an administered survey to students and faculty, and focu s groups were conducted. This chapter explained in detail, the step s and procedures utilized for the design and implementation of the study, and the analys is of the findings. Primary findings were via the participant questionnaire used as a surv ey or in the individua l farmer interviews. Findings obtained via collateral conversations duri ng individual farmer interviews and focus groups conducted with students and farm ers provided richness, and breadth to the

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53 questionnaire data. Steps taken to minimize s ources of bias within data collection were also noted. The following chapter of this thesis reveals the results of the study.

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54 CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH RESULTS Overview of the Chapter This chapter provides comprehensive result s of the case study “T he Perceptions of Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-based Extension: A Case Study from EARTH University, Costa Rica.” The re sults are presented within the context of the five study objectives. This chapter is organized according to the results, first quantitative, then qualitative, associated with each objective. The qualitative data included in this chapter repr esents common themes mentioned frequently by the farmers and students that provide in sight for interpreting the quantitative results. There were two basic data collection procedures employed to achieve the objectives. The first was a quant itative questionnaire used bot h as a structured interview guide with the farmers and as a census survey for the students and faculty. Focus groups, among students and farmers, were utilized as the second data collection procedure. Findings obtained via both th e collateral conversations du ring individual farmer interviews and focus groups conducted with students and farmers provided richness and breadth to the results obta ined via the questionnaire. To provide a better understanding of each group of respondents, the following demographic information was derived us ing basic descriptive statistics. Students A total of 81 students were surveyed. Th ey had participated in the 2004 WEM, and worked in one of the three communities near EARTH (La Lucha, El Hogar, or La

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55 Argentina) either during the first or second pha se of the module. The majority of the 81 students involved in the WEM were male ( 66.7%). Students’ count ries of origins and ages are reported as well in Table 4-1. Faculty A total of 9 faculty members were survey ed. They were asked in which of the 3 communities they had experience working with as part of the WEM, how long they have worked at EARTH University, how long they have been involved with the WEM, and their ages (Table 4-2).

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56 Table 4-1. Demographic Characteris tics of Students in the 2004 WEM Characteristic No. of Students Percent Country of Origin Belize 1 1.2 Bolivia 1 1.2 Dominican Republic 1 1.2 Paraguay 1 1.2 Uganda 1 1.2 Venezuela 1 1.2 El Salvador 2 2.5 Mexico 3 3.7 Panama 3 3.7 Brazil 4 3.7 Guatemala 4 4.9 Colombia 7 8.6 Honduras 7 8.6 Nicaragua 7 8.6 Ecuador 10 12.3 Costa Rica 19 23.5 81 100.0 Age 19 3 4.2 20 22 30.6 21 15 20.8 22 15 20.8 23 6 8.3 24 4 5.6 25 4 5.6 26 2 2.8 27 0 0.0 28 1 1.4 721 100.0 Gender Female 25 33.3 Male 50 66.7 752 100.0 1 Nine responses were missing for this item. 2 Six responses were missing for this item.

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57 Table 4-2. Demographic Characteris tics of Faculty in the 2004 WEM Characteristic No. of Faculty Members Percent Age (years) 26-30 1 11.1 31-35 3 33.3 36-40 3 33.3 46-50 1 11.1 51-55 1 11.1 9 100.0 Time at EARTH (years) < 1 1 11.1 1-3 4 44.4 4-6 0 0.0 7-9 2 22.2 10-12 2 22.2 9 100.0 Time involved with WEM < 1 3 33.3 1-3 3 33.3 4-6 0 0.0 7-9 3 33.3 9.0 100.0 Experience in Communities La Lucha (L) only 2 22.2 El Hogar (H) only 0 0.0 La Argentina (A) only 1 11.1 L & H 0 0.0 L & A 0 0.0 H & A 1 11.1 L & H & A 5 55.5 9 100.0 Gender Female 2 22.2 Male 7 77.7 9 100.0

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58 Farmers A total of 31 farmers from the rural co mmunities near EARTH participated in the 2004 Work Experience Module and received student change ag ents on their farms either during the first or second phase of the module. The researcher interviewed a farmer from each of the households. Of the 31 farmers, 11 were from the community La Lucha, 7 were from El Hogar, and 13 farmers were fr om La Argentina, the closest community to EARTH. The majority of farmers interviewe d were male (19), 10 were female, and the researcher interviewed the husband and the wife together in two households. The responses from the couples were decided c onsensually between the husband and wife. Table 4-3 shows the age distri bution of the farmers and the number of members each household contained. The majority (51.6%) of the farmers had between 4-7 people living on the farm more than 6 months of the year Eight farmers had between 1-5 hectares of land; 7 farmers had between 6-10 hectares ; 5 farmers had between 11-15 hectares; 4 farmers had between 16-20 hectares; 4 farm ers had between 27-40 hectares; and 3 farmers had between 60-80 hectares. Half of the farmers interviewed indicated that they had another source of income apart from the fa rm, while the other half indicated that they did not. Most of the farmers reported having the title to their land (83.8%).

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59 Table 4-3. Demographic Characteristics of Farmers and Households in the 2004 WEM Objective 1. To Identify Factors Affecting th e Farmers’ Decisions to Utilize Components of an Integrated Ag ricultural System (CIAS) by: identifying components of an integrated agricultural system being utilized on each farm identifying the source from which the farmer became aware and learned about the component of an Integrated Agricultural System identifying the farmer’s reasons for adop ting, rejecting, or discontinuing the use of a component of an Integrated Agricultural Systems determining if a relationshi p exists between the adop tion of components of an Integrated Agricultural System and house hold characteristics such as farmer gender, and availability of resources (s uch as land, labor, economic, and other) Characteristic No. of Farmers Percent Age (years) 26-35 5 16.1 36-45 9 29.0 46-55 8 25.8 56-65 4 12.9 66-75 4 12.9 76-85 1 3.2 31 100.0 No. Members of Household 1 1 3.2 2 8 25.8 3 4 12.9 4 4 12.9 5 4 12.9 6 5 16.1 7 3 9.7 9 2 6.5 31 100.0 Gender Female 10 32.3 Male 19 61.3 Couple 2 6.4 31 100.0

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60 Identifying Components of an Integrated Agricultural System Utilized on Each Farm A total of 31 farmers from the rural co mmunities near EARTH participated in the 2004 Work Experience Module and received st udent change agents on their farms. Currently, the most widely used CI AS that are being promoted by EARTH University among the farmers who participated in the 2004 Work Experience Module were determined to be (numbe r of farmers who are utilizing the practice): Forest Species (29), Medicinal Plants (24), the Biodigester (11), different types of Compost (11), Agroecotourism Preparations (11), and Fish Lagoons (10) (Table 4-4). Farmer Animal Resources During the structured interviews, the 31 fa rmers were asked what kinds of animals they had on their farm. A variety of anim als were mentioned and the frequency and percentage distribution of farmers having each type of animal is shown in Tables 4.5-4.8. Twenty-three of all farmer s interviewed (74.2%) had cattle, 25 farmers had chickens (80.6%) and the majority of the farmers had at least one horse (51.6%). Types of Plants All 31 farmers were asked to indicate whet her or not they had each of the plant types listed in Table 4-9 on their farm. Mo st farmers had vegetables, fruit, medicinal plants and natural pasture (83.8%, 67.7%, 64.5%, and 51.6%, respectively). Only two farmers indicated having grain crops. Frequency / Percentage Distribution and Reported Purposes of Forest Species Twenty-nine of the 31 farmers reported ha ving forest species (both natural and planted) on their farms, and 72.4% of these re ported that they had pl anted trees (Table 410). The 29 farmers listed a total of 16 diffe rent types of trees and Cedro, Laurel, Chancho Blanco, Almendro, and Pilon were th e most popular. Then, the 29 farmers were

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61 asked to free-list the purposes that the trees serve on their farm (Table 4-11). The reasons for having trees that were listed most frequen tly were for: lumber, protection of flora and fauna, and augmenting the organic matte r in the soil (24.5%, 20.2%, and 12.8%, respectively). The farmers also showed an interest in having trees for the following purposes: to decrease erosion, to provid e animal habitat and for aesthetics.

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62Table 4-4. Farmer Reported Beha vior regarding Components of an Integrated Agricultural System* Alternative Agriculture Practice / System Total No. of Farmers Farmers who Implemented Practice Farmers who Rejected Practice Farmers who Discontinued Practice N n % n % n % Biodigester 31 11 35.5 19 61.3 1 3.2 Nutritional Blocks 31 4 12.9 25 80.6 2 6.4 Traditional Compost 31 11 35.5 18 58.1 2 6.4 Worm Compost 31 6 54.5 16 51.6 9 29.0 Bokashi 31 4 12.9 27 87.1 0 0.0 Fish Lagoons 31 11 35.5 18 58.1 2 6.4 Decontami-nation Lagoons 31 3 9.7 28 90.3 0 0.0 Medicinal Plants 31 24 77.4 7 22.6 0 0.0 Forest Species 31 29 93.5 2 6.4 0 0.0 Agro-ecotourism Preparations 31 11 35.5 20 62.5 0 0.0 Effective Microorganisms 31 10 32.3 19 61.3 2 6.4 Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason

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63 Table 4-5. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Cattle Number of Head of Cattle Frequency Percent 1-5 6 26.1 6-15 6 26.1 16-25 3 13.0 26-35 2 8.7 36-45 2 8.7 46-55 1 4.4 >55 3 13.0 23 100 Table 4.6. Frequency and Percentage Dist ribution of Farmers with Chickens Number of Chickens Frequency Percent 1-10 10 40.0 11-20 5 20.0 21-30 2 8.0 31-40 3 12.0 41-50 2 8.0 51-120 2 8.0 5000 1 4.0 25 100 Table 4-7. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Pigs Number of Pigs Frequency Percent 1-3 6 42.9 4-6 2 14.3 7-9 1 7.1 10-12 1 7.1 13-15 1 7.1 16-18 1 7.1 19-21 22-24 1 7.1 100 1 7.1 14 100 Table 4-8. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Horses Number of Horses Frequency Percent 1 6 37.5 2 6 37.5 3 2 12.5 4 1 6.3 >4 1 6.3 16 100

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64 Table 4.9. Frequency and Percentage Di stribution of Farmers Growing Plants Type of Plants Frequency Percent Grains 2 6.5 Vegetables 26 83.8 Fruit 21 67.7 Natural pasture 16 51.6 Improved Pasture 11 35.5 Ornamental Plants 15 48.4 Medicinal Plants 20 64.5 31* *N=31 farmers. All 31 farmers were asked whether or not they had the respective plant type on their farm. Table 4.10. Frequency and Distribution of Farmers with Forest Species Type* Frequency Percent Natural 8 27.6 Planted 21 72.4 Total 29 100.0 Cedro 18 62.1 Laurel 17 58.6 Chancho Blanco 8 27.6 Amendro 6 20.7 Pilon 6 20.7 *Cedro, Laurel, Chanco Blanco, Almendro, and Pilon were the mo st frequently listed forest species; Percent refers to how the percent of the 29 farmers who have trees of the named type.

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65 Table 4-11. Frequency and Di stribution of Purposes for having Forest Species Purpose* Frequency Percent Fruit 2 2.1 Wood 23 24.5 Protection from sun, wind, rain 4 4.3 Augment organic matter in soil 12 12.8 Increase Nitrogen fixation 1 1.1 Decrease erosion 7 7.4 Protect Flora and Fauna 19 20.2 Combat natural plagues 2 2.1 For animals (habitat) 7 7.4 Aesthetics 7 7.4 Sell wood 1 1.1 Make and sell furniture 1 1.1 Substitute for paying a fine 1 1.1 Reforestation 3 3.19 Protect river and springs 2 2.1 Protect ornamental plants 1 1.1 Tourism 1 1.1 94 100 *All farmers who had forest species were asked to free list purpose(s) the trees serve on their farms. N = the total number of purposes listed. Lagoons Nine of the 31 farmers reported having fish ponds, or ‘fish lagoons’ (29.0%). Aquatic plants and the nutrients found in waste effluent were being promoted as decontamination and waste management componen ts of an Integrated Agriculture System (IAS) by EARTH. Farmers with fish lagoons we re asked what they were using as fish food. Most of the farmers reported using fish food concentrate that they had to purchase commercially while others mentioned aquati c plants and waste (57.1%, 21.4% and 21.4%, respectively). Types of feed could be listed in combination. Only 2 of the 31 farmers had lagoons without fish. Their reported purpose of the lagoons were for waste management, to

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66 cultivate aquatic plants, and to have a place to collect liquid fertilizer from waste effluent to use to irrigate the crops. The Biodigester Eleven of the farmers (N=31) reported us ing the biodigester (35.5%). Of these, 81.8% kept the technology under cover. When as ked what they do with the effluent from the biodigester, 81.8% of the farmers answered that they apply it dire ctly to the land as fertilizer. The remaining 18.2% of farmers re ported first collecting th e effluent in a lagoon (Table 4-12). Nutritional Blocks Only four of the 31 farmers (12.9%) reporte d using Nutritional Blocks. Of these, 100.0% perceived the benefits of this practice to be an increa se in calving rate, and an increase in milk and meat production. Compost Eleven of the 31 farmers (35.5%) utilized compost on their farms. Of these, 45.5% reported using only Worm Compost, 27.3% only Bokashi, 9% Worm Compost and Bokashi, and 18% Traditional Compost. Table 4-12 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Biodigester purposes Purpose* Frequency Percent Gas 11 29.7 Heat 5 13.5 Mitigate Flies 5 13.5 Mitigate foul odor 5 13.5 Produce Fertilizer 10 27.0 Pasteruization 1 2.7 37 100 *All farmers who had the biodigester were aske d to free list purpos e(s) the biodigester was serving on their farms. N = the total number of purposes listed.

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67 Source of Information on Components of an Integrated Agricultural Systems During the structured interviews, the resear cher asked the farmer to free-list the sources (if any) from which they had become aware or received information on each of the eleven components of an IAS If the farmer s had no knowledge of the practice, no sources were listed. Equally, if a farmer recalled re ceiving information about the practice from a variety of sources, they were asked to name each as they came to mind, with no specific order. Of all the sources listed by farmers for each practice, the percentage of the responses that named each respective source is reported in Table 4-13. EARTH University students and faculty were revealed, with a few exceptions, as the overall primary source of information about th e eleven components of an IAS (Table 4-13). Sources from which information about the Bi odigester was obtained were named 58 times. Of these, EARTH faculty was the source menti oned most frequently, representing 41.4% of all responses. This is the only technol ogy for which EARTH faculty represented the majority of the sources named. Usually th e EARTH faculty represents the second most frequently named source, following EARTH stude nts as the main source. EARTH students represented a close 39.6% of the sources me ntioned, followed by “neighbors” representing only 8.6%. While EARTH students and faculty dominate d the responses for Nutritional Blocks, “family” and “church” were also named, followed by Japdeva, INA, and CEDECO. Results were similar for Traditional Compost with the following sources named (in order of decreasing frequency): EARTH students and faculty, INA, MAG, church, family, and CEDECO. Data reveal that “neighbors” were the main source of information for the farmers about Fish Lagoons. They also na med (in order of decreasing frequency): EARTH students, faculty, family, Japdeva, and Traditional Knowledge.

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68 While EARTH students and faculty were the most popular source mentioned for Decontamination Lagoons, a notable 11.9% of responses named “neighbors” and 9.5% named Traditional Knowledge (Table 4-13). Traditional Knowledge was listed almost as frequently as EARTH students (20.0%, 26.7%) as a source of information about Medicinal Plants. EARTH faculty, neighbors, and public ations were also named as sources. Traditional Knowledge was named as a source of information regarding Forest Species following EARTH students and faculty. Farm ers named EARTH faculty and students as their main sources for the following practices, with little or no mention of any other sources: Worm compost, Bokashi, Agroecotourism Preparations, and Effective Microorganisms. Knowledge, Practice, and Dissemination of the “Integrated Agricultural System” All 31 farmers were asked the questions lis ted in Table 4-10. A strong majority answered each of these questions affirmativ ely according to thei r perceptions. Most farmers had heard the term “Int egrated Agricultural System” before, felt that the students were promoting that type of system, and c onsidered their farm to be an “Integrated Agriculture System.” Seventyone percent of farmers intervie wed reported that they had taught or shared new knowledge, information, or ideas with other farmers. Each farmer that answered affirmatively (22 of the 31 farmers) was then asked to elaborate by specifying what information they shared. Nineteen out of a to tal of 30 topics listed were alternative agriculture practi ces identified by this study as being promoted by EARTH University. The most frequent topic listed was “organic fertilizer” (23.3%), followed by “the biodigester” (16.2%). Of alternative agriculture prac tices, the following were also mentioned once: “bokashi,” “conservation effort s,” “construction design in the kitchen with the biodigester,” “planting trees” or “ref orestation,” “waste management,” “worm

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69 compost,” and “biofermentation.” Of those practices not specifically being promoted by EARTH as part of an Integrated Agricu lture System, “precision agriculture” was mentioned twice and the rest once: “impr oved bovine genetics,” “bottle and sell clean water,” “bovine nutrition,” “pasture,” “palmito,” “coffee,” “making cheese / pasteurization,” “protein bank,” and “medicine for chickens.”

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70Table 4-13. Sources of Informati on about each Component of an In tegrated Agricultural System Source Alternative Agricultural Practice / System Na Government Organizations (Ministry of Agriculture / Natural Resources) Neighbor EARTH Faculty EARTH Students Church Family JAPDEVA Biodigester 58 1.7 8.6 41.4 39.6 3.5 3.5 Nutritional Blocks 42 4.76 33.3 50.0 4.8 23.8 Traditional Compost 53 1.9 37.7 49.1 1.9 1.9 Worm Compost 52 36.5 55.8 1.92 1.92 Bokashi 50 2.0 46.0 48.0 2.0 Fish Lagoons 39 7.7 28.2 15.38 25.64 2.56 5.13 5.13 Decontamination Lagoons 42 11.9 35.71 38.1 2.4 Medicinal Plants 45 8.9 17.8 26.7 2.2 2.2 Forest Species 52 3.8 1.9 28.8 32.7 1.9

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71Table 4-13. Continued Source Alternative Agricultural Practice / System Na Government Organizations (Ministry of Agriculture / Natural Resources) Neighbor EARTH Faculty EARTH Students Church Family JAPDEVA Agro-ecotourism Preparations 24 41.7 45.8 Effective Microorganisms 47 46.8 48.9 Source Alternative Agricultural Practice / System Na NGO INA TEC Publication CEDECO Traditional Knowledge ANDAR OTHERb Biodigester 58 1.72 Nutritional Blocks 42 23.8 23.8 Traditional Compost 53 3.8 1.9 Worm Compost 52 1.9 1 Bokashi 50 2.0

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72Table 4-13. Continued Source Alternative Agricultural Practice / System Na NGO INA TEC Publication CEDECO Traditional Knowledge ANDAROTHERb Fish Lagoons 39 2.6 5.13 2 Decontamination Lagoons 42 2.4 9.5 Medicinal Plants 45 2.2 2.2 2.2 8.9 20.0 4.4 3,4 Forest Species 52 3.8 1.9 1.9 19.2 5,6 Agro-ecotourism Preparation 24 7,8 Effective Microorganisms 47 2.1 9 a All 31 farmers were asked to free list the sources (if any) from which they have rece ived information pertaining to each alter native agriculture practice/system. b These reasons were listed once or twice N = the total number of responses for each practice/system. 1 SUPAS (Union of livestock pr oducers in the Atlantic region) 2 Taiwanese 3 CEFCA 4 UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educacin a Distancia) 5 Code Forsa de San Carlos, 6 COES 7 Agro-ecotourism group of San Jose, 8 Agro-ecotourism group of Guacimo 9 Makes own

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73Table 4-14. Integrated Agricultural System Knowledge / Dissemination Question N % Yes % No Have you heard the term “Integrated Agricultural System”? 31 77.4 22.6 Did the students promote this type of system? 31 87.1 12.9 Would you consider your farm to be an integrated farm system? 31 58.1 41.9 Have you taught or shared new knowledge, practices, information or ideas with other farmers? 31 71.0 29.0

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74 Farmer Reasons for Adopting, Rejecting, or Discontinuing Use of a CIAS Reasons for Not Implementing Practice Of the 31 farmers, those who did not adopt each of the practices were asked to freelist the reason(s) why they decided not to adopt it. The percen tage representing how frequently each reason was named per practice is reported in Table 4-15. Each practice had at least 2 non-adopters. Nineteen (61.3 percent) of th e 31 farmers did not adopt the biodigester (Table 4-4). The most frequently mentioned reasons that farmers reported for not implementing the biodigester were (in order of decreasing frequency): co st, representing 22.2% of responses; not having gotten “around to it yet” because it was not a priority; and not having sufficient animals to produce waste fo r bio-fuel. Reasons for not implementing the innovation unique to the bi odigester were: 1. the kitchen was too far from the corral and 2. the woman of the household prefers not to cook with the gas from the biodigester. Twenty-five (80.6%) of the 31 farmers di d not adopt Nutritional Blocks. The reason mentioned most often that preven ted farmers from making and using this innovation was simply because they did not ow n livestock. There was also a lack of understanding of the purpose and information about Nutritional Blocks. Some farmers that did understand the purpose and how to ma ke them opted not to because the process was too time consuming. Reported reasons not to adopt that were unique to the Nutritional Blocks were: 1. they were not necessary because using other feed supplementation, and 2. they lack the machin e used to harvest crop residues (a main ingredient in the Nutritional Blocks). Eighteen of the 31 farmers (58.1%) decided not to use traditional compost and 16 farmers (51.6%) opted not to use worm compos t. Both types of compost were found to

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75 be time consuming. The most common respons e regarding traditiona l compost was that it did not fit as an appropri ate component in their farm system, denoted as “Fit into System” (Table 4-15). One farmer is not us ing the traditional or worm compost because he/she prefers and is using Bokashi, anot her alternative agriculture practice being diffused by EARTH. Farmers reported that th ey end up applying waste directly to the land as fertilizer instead of in the form of compost because the process takes too long. Another deterrent from using worm compost was not knowing “how to use” the practice. Twenty-seven of the 31 farmers (87.1%) repo rted not ever using Bokashi. The most common reason listed was that it failed to fit into the farm system followed by the complaint that it was time consuming. Other reasons were: 1. it is not necessary because I’m using my own effective microorganism, a nd 2. the material to make Bokashi is too difficult to obtain. Topography was exceedingly the most frequent reason named by 18 of the 31 farmers for not implementing Fish Lagoons. Cost was the next frequently mentioned reason. Other reasons were: 1. the water is not clean and 2. there is not enough water. A strong majority of responses named “Fit in to System” as a reason not to implement

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76Table 4-15. Farmer Reasons for Not Implementing the Component of an Integrated Agricultural System Reasons for Not Implementing Practice* Alternative Agricultural Practice / System Na Cost Labor Intensive Time Consuming No Interest Farm Size Topography Animals Biodigester 27 22.2 7.4 3.7 11.1 14.8 Nutritional Blocks 43 2.3 2.3 13.9 2.3 _ 18.6 Traditional Compost 35 2.9 2.9 11.4 8.6 2.9 5.7 Worm Compost 31 6.5 3.2 16.1 9.7 3.2 9.7 Bokashi 64 7.8 6.2 10.9 3.1 1.6 1.6 4.7 Fish Lagoons 26 19.2 7.7 3.8 26.9 Decontamination Lagoons 49 10.2 6.1 4.1 6.1 4.1 Medicinal Plants 16 6.2 37.5 Forest Species 5 20.0 Agro-ecotourism Preparation (AETP) 38 5.3 5.3 39.5 Effective Microorganisms 38 2.6 5.3 2.6 2.6

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77 Table 4-15. Continued Reasons for Not Implementing Practice Alternative Agriculture Practice / System Na How to use Purpose Fit into System Function Priority No Information River floods OTHERb Biodigester 27 11.1 18.5 3.7 1,2 Nutritional Blocks 43 9.3 9.3 11.6 7.0 11.6 3,4 Traditional Compost 35 11.4 8.6 17.1 11.4 8.6 2.9 5,6 Worm Compost 31 12.9 6.5 12.9 3.2 6.5 6.5 5 Bokashi 64 9.4 7.8 12.5 1.6 4.7 6.2 1.6 7,8 Fish Lagoons 26 3.8 11.5 3.8 7.7 9,10 Decontamination Lagoons 49 6.1 8.2 28.6 4.1 6.1 2.0 5,6, 11* Medicinal Plants 16 18.7 12.5 6.2 12.5 6.2 Forest Species 5 20.0 20.0 20.0 20.0 AETP 38 2.6 2.6 28.9 2.6 7.9 12 E.M. 38 26.3 26.3 5.3 2.6 21.0 7,13 a All farmers who were not or had not previously implemented the practice were asked to free list the reasons (if any) why they d ecided not to adopt it. b These reasons were listed once or twice N = the total number of responses for each practice/system. Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason 1 Kitchen too far from corral, 2 Don’t want to cook with gas 3 Not necessary because using other supplements or the grass is rich enough, 4 Need a picadora 5 Prefers to use Bokashi, 6applies waste directly to the land as fertilizer 7 Not necessary because using own microorganisms, 8 Difficult to obtain material to make Bokashi 9 Water not clean, 10 Not enough water 11Not necessary because waste management isn’t a problem* 10.2% 12 Don’t want visitors 13 Nobody brought it to the farm for the farmer to try it out

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78 Decontamination Lagoons. It was also vi ewed as too expensive. A noteworthy, 10.2% of responses reported that the Decontam ination Lagoons were not necessary because “waste management is not a problem.” Only 7 of the 31 farmers reported not having medicinal plants. Most of these stated that they had no interest in them. Twenty-nine of the farmers reported having Forest Species on their farms, (93.5%); 21 of these planted the trees. (Table 4-15). There were only 5 responses given for not having / planting trees because most of the farmers had planted them. The 5 responses were reported with equal frequencies and na med “Topography,” “How to Use,” “Purpose,” “No Information,” and “River Floods” as the reasons. From among the farmers who reported not implementing Agro-ecotourism Preparations (64.5%)( Table 4-4) the most frequent reason given was “No Interest.” This question also revealed that some farmers specifi cally did not want visitors on their property. Nineteen of the 31 farmers have never used Effective Microorganisms. Of these, the most frequently reported reason wa s that it did not fit into the farm system. They also did not use this innovation because they lacked information about it and “nobody brought it to the farm for us to try it out.” The practices that farmers tended to reject were the following (i n decreasing order): Decontamination Lagoons (90.3%), Bokashi ( 87.1%), and Nutritiona l Blocks (80.6%). Reasons for Discontinuing Practices Of the 31 farmers interviewed, those who ha d adopted a practice / system but later rejected it were asked to free list the reason(s) why they discontinued its use. Instances of discontinuance were only reported on the following 6 practices: Worm Compost, Traditional Compost, Nutritional Blocks, Eff ective Microorganisms, and the Biodigester.

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79 Rate of discontinuance wa s highest for Worm Compost and lowest for the Biodigester. Nine farmers disc ontinued using Worm Compost for a number of functionality issues (Table 4-16). The “Wooden Crate” was a problem because ants were able to crawl through the cracks and reportedly ate the worm s. Other noteworthy problems causing discontinuance among practices were that fa rmers stopped using the practice when the student change agents lef t; and the topography of the la nd, including the river flooding. Other Potential Factors Affecting a Farmer’s Decision to Utilize CIAS Due to the nature of most of the alterna tive agriculture systems and practices being promoted by EARTH, it is logical to assume th at farmers with animals might have a higher tendency to adopt certain innovati ons. For example, the Biod igester can only function with the input of human or animal waste; Nutrit ional Blocks are inte nded for livestock, and bokashi results from a composting process intended for the management of animal waste.

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80 Table 4-16. Farmer Reasons for Discontinuance of Components of an Integrated Agricultural System* Reasons for Discontinuance Alternative Agriculture Practice / System Na Reason %b Reason % Reason % Reason % Reason % Biodigester 1 Didn’t Function Correctly 100.0Nutritional Blocks 2 Expensive 25.0 Time Consuming 25.0 Student Left 50.0Traditional Compost 2 Size of the farm 25.0 Not enough resources 50.0 Student Left 25.0Time Consuming 6.7 Topography 6.7 Doesn’t Fit w/System 6.7 Worm Compost 9 Labor Intensive 13.3 Didn’t Function Correctly 26.7 Worms Died1 26.7 Wooden Crate 6.7 River Floods 6.7 Fish Lagoons 2 Didn’t Function Correctly 33.3 Topography 33.3 River Floods 33.3Effective Microorganisms 2 No more animals 50.0 Used up supply brought by students 50.0* Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason a Number of farmers who discontinued use b Each % sign represents the percentage that the previ ous reason was listed out of a ll of the reasons mentioned 11/4 of the worms were reported to have been eaten by bird s, by ants, and of the respondents didn’t give a reason.

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81 Therefore, a contingency table was used to generate a Chi-squared value to test if a relationship existed between having either pigs chickens, horses, or cows and adopting any of the CIAS. A significant Chi-squared valu e was not derived and sufficient evidence did not exist to indicate a relations hip between the variables. The researcher generated Chi-squared valu es for each of the following demographic variables and the level of adoption for each of the practices: numb er of people in the household, the gender of the farmer, the size of the farm (in terms of hectares), whether or not the household was receiving outside income, and in which community the farmer lived. Chi-squared values revealed th at a relationship exists betwee n farmers who reside in the community, La Argentina, and their adoption be havior of Agro-ecotourism Preparations (p < .001). There was no other statistically signi ficant evidence suggesting a relationship between the other variables. Trends by Community Through comparison of adoption behavior between communities, some trends became apparent (Table 4-17.). The farmers of La Argentina demonstrate a higher level of adoption of components of an IAS (CIAS) th an do the farmers of El Hogar and La Lucha (Table 4-17). La Argentina The maximum number of CIAS adopted by a ny one farmer occurred in La Argentina (8 practices). Two other farmers adopted 7 different practices, 6 farmers adopted 4 practices, and 4 farmers adopted 3 practices. The mean number of practices adopted is 4.5 and the mode is 6, n=13.

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82 El Hogar The maximum number of CIAS adopted by a farmer in El Hogar is 6. Two farmers adopted 5 different practices, 1 adopted 4 prac tices, and 1 adopted 3. The mean number of practices adopted is 3.7 and the mode is 5, n=7. La Lucha The maximum number of practices adopted in La Lucha is 5. One farmer adopted 5 different practices, 1 farmer a dopted 4 different practices, and 3 farmers adopted 3 different practices. The mean number of practices adopted is 2.6, and the mode is 2, n=11. Table 4-17. Comparing Levels of Adoption of CIAS by Community Community N Maximum No. of Practices Adopted Mean No. of Practices Adopted Mode No. of Practices Adopted La Argentina 13 8 4.5 6 El Hogar 7 6 3.7 5 La Lucha 11 5 2.6 2 Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews During the interviews, farmers provided exampl es to substantiate their responses to the researcher’s questions and elaborated on t opics of interest to them. The following findings represent the common themes that emerged from conversations between the farmer and researcher during the interviews This information may provide a better understanding of the farmers’ perceptions and their reasoning behind the responses, as well as illuminate important issues that were una nticipated and not incl uded in the structured interview guide. Farmer Interview Findings: Objective 1 As one farmer put it, “Certain characte ristics of the farm make it possible or appropriate to install a technol ogy while others don’t.” Many fa rmers reported that they did not have sufficient animals (or animals kept in an enclosed area where the waste could be

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83 collected to supply the biodigester with fuel) to adopt the biod igester. Nutritional Blocks were also often rejected because people did not have the animals, but often, it was also because they were unaware of the purpose of the blocks. When the animals were kept in the pasture, farmers claimed that they could not easily take the time to collect waste for compost. Therefore, they felt that they di d not have the material necessary to prepare compost. Often, farmers didn’t realize that compost could be made from crop residues, kitchen scraps, chicken litter, et c. Farmers also mentioned that the work and time it would take to prepare the compost and then wait for weeks until it could be used as fertilizer “wasn’t worth it” or “ no vale la pena ” either, especially when the farm was small. Therefore, the response that it di d not fit with the needs of th e farm was also reported. The resources that were lacking included the size of the farm, animals to produce enough waste, or a system that allowed eas y collection of the waste. Another factor to mention is the farmers’ commitment to their “ mapa futuro ” or future map, a vision created by the farmer and an EARTH student(s) of their farm in the future The ideas were generated usually with the first students that ever worked on the farms and the farmers and students are sti ll committed to implementing these ideas. Farmers are usually very committed to their mapa futuros. Take for instance, this excerpt from the researcher’s field notes: The most interesting thing about my visit to this farm (F inca Maria Jose) is that I could compare what I saw to my visit there the previous year. I was amazed. I remembered discussing plans to make a so ccer field, install bathrooms and a little restaurant for tourists, etc. When I arrive d, I quickly saw that those plans had quickly been brought to fruition. I was impressed. This woman is extremely motivated and she was embracing the idea of agro-ecotourism. She is an example of when the mapa futuro works! She has stuck to her vision of the ideal farm and was accomplishing it. On one hand, it is a good way to follow through on the projects…on the other hand, some farmers have reported that they feel like they must accomplish the ideas on the map

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84 before making other changes to the farm th at are not included in the map. It sounds therefore like it might inhibit their creativity or independence. One common sentiment among the farmers was that while they were in favor of experimenting and making behavioral and prac tice changes, many times it was impractical due to the high risk and monetary cost involve d. As one farmer expressed, “I would like to implement the ideas the students and I come up with but it’s too expensive.” One farmer suggested, “The university should provide ways to obtain resources in orde r to be able to do more projects and experiments because it is expensive.” Sometimes, the farmers will only use an innovati on if the students bring it to them to try, or if it is free and requires no investment, no risk This is very much the case with E.M. The farmers report being very satisfied with the results of E.M. (eradication of flies, mitigation of odors, etc.), but have never actually bought it Inst ead, they wait for the students to bring more for them to “try.” Th is begs the question “Do the farmers value it enough to purchase it if they were told that th e students would never again be able to bring any free samples?”. While EARTH is not the only entity invol ved in nonformal education and extension efforts, farmers freely expresse d that their level of satisfacti on with EARTH was superior to the other entities. A couple of opinions a nd reasons are captured in the following quotes: “The government (MAG) doesn’t help me and the only assistance I have ever received is through this program [the WEM]…through the students of EARTH.” “EARTH dedicates time to the farms…they don’t charge, it’s free Other institutions never come around.” And “I think it is a good idea to work with other in stitutions other than EA RTH, but I strongly prefer working with EARTH for two reasons. The first reason is: because of the students,

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85 there is constant communication. The second is: the scientists, professors…are familiar with the farm because they have physically been here.” It became obvious that the student change agents were sources of motivation for the farmers. Time and again, farmers made statements supporting this observation. One farmer said “if the students leave, so does my motivation.” The students seem to create an enthusiasm in the farmers, but this enthusiasm may not last once the students are gone. For traditional extension agents, this dependency may seem as a hindrance for the farmers to “help themselves” and for the agents to crea te the desired “termina l relationship.” For example, one farmer commented that he is dependent upon the student to come up with new ideas and bring information. He doesn’t think that he should help himself to the degree that he is independent of the students; rather, he is comfortable with the continued dependency on them. This may or may not be an issue since this is not a traditional extension program, and the farms co ntinue to receive students. The farmers repeatedly voiced their frustr ation with the river flooding, especially the river, Jimenez, in La Lucha. It was identif ied as an obstacle to the adoption of various innovations. One more factor, known as the “Human Factor” (Personal communications, on August 11, 2004, Dr. Pedro Bidegaray) may aff ect the farmers’ decisions to adopt innovations. Bidegaray explains the Human Factor as “a n intrinsic quality of certain individuals to seize the opportuni ty and do something with it.” This is similar to Rogers Theory of Adoption (2003) which states that a person who is classified as an “innovator” will have a higher likelihood of adopting an innovation than someone who is not. The following excerpts are from the researcher’s fiel d notes and serve to illustrate the type of

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86 person she believes might fit into Roger’s “innovator” category and give importance to what Bidegaray refers to as the “Human Factor”: Farmer 1: Farmer 1 and his wife, are incred ible. They are young, very motivated agriculturalists. I remember that I visited Fa rmer 1’s wife last year with B.K. Singh and we discussed her project of free-range chickens. Farmer 1 has a very impressive enterprise of Bio-fermentation on his farm. So far, he is the only farmer using this method of fe rtilization. He has live stock and collects the waste, mixes it with E.M., molasses, and whatever mineral is missing the soil (which he finds out through soil testi ng done by the students). Then, he stores this mixture in vats and uses it to fertilize his crops, especially papaya. He also has Bokashi, Fish ponds, worm and traditional compost, medicinal plants and forest species. He also uses precision agriculture and tries to teach other farmers to fertilize less frequently. In the past year, he has had gr oups visit his farm from both EARTH and MAG. The main reason he hasn’t implemented other aspects of an IAS is because he simply hasn’t had time yet…but he plans to. He also plans to start making his own EM. I asked him why he was the only one using bi o-fermentation type fertilization and he said because it has just starte d being diffused by EARTH…in 2000. Farmer 2: He felt that it was really important to have an interc hange of knowledge between traditional knowledge and new know ledge coming out of the universities. So far, he is the first person to use Bokash i. He seems to be very familiar with the term “Integrated Agricultural System.” He considers his own farm as such and only hasn’t implemented a biodigester because ot her priorities have held him back. He plans to in the very near future. He believe s it is part of his responsibility to help diffuse sustainable agriculture practices and technology and has trained about 30 farmers…neighbors and friends during work shops, etc. Practices include waste management and prec ision agriculture. Some of the farmers thought that planting trees was the thing to do…mostly because it would provide wood for construction purposes when necessary (a future resource of wood) and also to help prevent contam ination of the river. Farmer 2 was fully aware of just about every po ssible reason to plant trees. Objective 2: To determine the perceptions of the participants in relation to their role and the role of other participants of the Wo rk Experience Module, WEM through: determining the perceptions of the student agents and farmers with respect to their own present roles in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be

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87 determining the perceptions of the farmers with respect to the present role of the student change agents in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be (in terms of educational processes based on th e principles of: knowledge, participation, and interpersonal characteristics) determining the perceptions of the students with respect to the present role of the farmers in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be Perceptions of the Role of the St udent Change Agents in the WEM Farmer Perceptions A total of 31 farmers were as ked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 39 statements “should be” the role of the st udent change agents of the WEM by choosing the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) from a 3 pt. Likert-scale that the researcher used from the structured interview guide (Table 4-18). The possible role s were generated from the stated objectives and mission of the WEM as set forth by EARTH University and from the researcher’s prior experience with participants of the program. The majority of the farmers agreed that the students should fulfill all of the 39 potential roles discussed with them. All ( 100%) of the farmers agreed that the students should: Provide current, up-to-date information Consult with other resources and specialists when necessary Serve as an informant for bringing information Help in the development of problem-solving strategies Possess good connections /n etworking capabilities Transfer information based on research Work well with the farmer to develop and implement new ideas Take an interest in the farmers opinions, ideas, and feelings Think of solutions together with the farmer when there are problems

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88Table 4-18. Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the St udent Change Agent in the Work Experience Program* Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Should Be Role Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Technical knowledge k 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.9 .30 Up-to-date information k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Consult w/other resources, specialists k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Help sustainable agriculture efforts k 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Committed to region’s ecosystemk 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Informant role k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Problem solving strategies k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Practice changes k 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Good network, connections k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Information based on research k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Development of ideas k,p 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Conduct experiments w/farmer k,p 90.3 6.5 3.2 1.87 .43 Teach new skills to farmer k,p 96.8 0.0 3.2 1.94 .36 Interest in opinions, ideas p 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Joint problem solving p 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Joint learning/working p 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Identify community issues p 80.6 3.2 16.1 1.65 .75 Committed to improving quality of life p 87.1 6.5 6.5 1.81 .54 Increase farmer capacity to evaluate p 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Help people help themselves p 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Groups in need p 80.6 9.7 9.7 1.71 .64

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89Table 4-18. Continued Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Should Be Role Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Learn from farmer p 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.9 .30 Farmer conduct own experiments p 90.3 6.5 3.2 1.87 .43 Value traditional knowledge p,ic 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Value other opinions ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Hard worker ic 64.5 29.0 6.5 1.58 .62 Responsible ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Creative ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Attentive ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Professionalism ic 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 Sincere ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Honest ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Trust in farmer ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Motivated ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Respectful ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Trustworthy ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Perceive feelings ic 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 Good communicator ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Model of inspiration ic 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 *Responses from all 31 farmers, N=31. 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes k Questions positioned within the knowledge construct p Questions positioned within the participatory construct ic Questions positioned within the interpersonal characteristics construct

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90 All of the farmers also agreed that th e students should be re sponsible, creative, attentive, an effec tive communicator, honest, motivated, re spectful, trustworthy, and should trust the farmer. The statement that student s should identify commun ity problems, needs, and hopes received the most “no” responses of all the potential roles. Farmers were most undecided (most frequent “maybe” responses ) about whether students should possess technical knowledge, help the poorest farmers of the community, learn from the farmers, be a model of inspiration, and especially whether or not they should be a hard worker (possible reasons for this will be explained later). Farmers were then asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 39 statements regarding what the role of the st udent actually was, according to their experience with the program during 2004, by choosing the appropriate choice (y es, maybe, no) from a 3 pt. Likert-scale that the rese archer had on the structured-int erview guide (Table 4-19). All 31 farmers agreed that the students consulte d with other resources and specialists when necessary, worked and learned together with the farmer, valued different ideas and opinions, were responsible, sincere, honest trusted the farmer, was respectful, and trustworthy. Farmers were most undecided over whether students helped those people in the community who have the most needs (29.0%). The most “no” responses were received when farmers were asked if the students conducted experiments with them (35.5%). Student Perceptions Students were asked to indicate their le vel of agreement th at each of the 39 statements “should be” their role as change agents in the WEM by ci rcling the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-20). The possible roles were generated from the stated objectives and mission of the WEM as set forth by EARTH University and from the researcher’s prior experience with participants of the program.

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91 Interestingly, all of the 81 students responded “yes” to only one of th e potential ro les of the student change agent: that th e student should be an effectiv e communicator. Most of the students also agreed that students should: Have technical knowledge in the appropriate areas (98.8%) Provide current, up-to-date information (96.3%) Help in the development of pr oblem-solving strategies (93.8%) Work well with the farmer to develop and implement new ideas (91.4%) Learn from the farmer (97.5%) Take an interest in the farmers opinions, ideas, and feelings (92.6%) Think of solutions together with the farmer when there are problems (97.5%) Work and learn together with the farmer (98.3%) Increase the farmer’s capacity to an alyze and evaluate situations (96.3%)

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92Table 4-19. Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the St udent Change Agent in the Work Experience Module* Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Actually Was Role Yes % Maybe% No % Mean1 SD Technical knowledge k 87.1 9.7 3.2 1.84 .45 Up-to-date information k 96.8 0.0 3.2 1.94 .40 Consult w/other resources, specialists k 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Help sustainable agriculture efforts k 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 Committed to region’s ecosystem k 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Informant role k 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 Problem solving strategies k 87.1 9.7 3.2 1.84 .45 Practice changes k 83.9 6.5 9.7 1.74 .63 Good network, connections k 90.3 6.5 3.2 1.87 .43 Information based on research k 90.3 3.2 6.5 1.84 .52 Development of ideas k,p 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.94 .36 Conduct experiments w/farmer k,p 51.6 12.9 35.5 1.16 .93 Teach new skills to farmer k,p 87.1 3.2 9.7 1.77 .62 Interest in opinions, ideas p 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Joint problem solving p 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 Joint learning/working p 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Identify community issues p 71.0 6.5 22.6 1.48 .85 Committed to improving quality of life p 74.2 9.7 16.1 1.58 .76 Increase farmer capacity to evaluate p 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Help people help themselves p 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 Groups in need p 54.8 29.0 16.1 1.39 .76

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93Table 4-19. Continued Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Actually Was Role Yes % Maybe% No % Mean1 SD Learn from farmer p 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Farmer conduct own experiments p 83.9 3.2 12.9 1.71 .69 Value traditional knowledge p,ic 83.9 12.9 3.2 1.81 .48 Value other opinions ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Hard worker ic 83.9 12.9 3.2 1.81 .48 Responsible ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Creative ic 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 Attentive ic 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Professionalism ic 90.3 6.5 3.2 1.87 .43 Sincere ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Honest ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Trust in farmer ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Motivated ic 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Respectful ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Trustworthy ic 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Perceive feelings ic 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 Good communicator ic 87.1 12.9 0.0 1.87 .34 Model of inspiration ic 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Responses from all 31 farmers, N=31 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes k Questions positioned within the knowledge construct p Questions positioned within the participatory construct ic Questions positioned within the interpersonal characteristics construct

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94Table 4-20. Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Should Be Role N Yes % Maybe % No % Mean SD Technical knowledge k 81 98.8 1.2 0.0 1.99 .11 Up-to-date information k 81 96.3 2.5 1.2 1.95 .27 Consult w/other resources, specialists k 81 81.5 16.0 2.5 1.79 .47 Help sustainable agriculture efforts k 81 90.1 8.6 1.2 1.89 .35 Committed to ecosystem k 81 85.2 13.6 1.2 1.84 .40 Informant role k 81 86.4 12.3 1.2 1.85 .39 Problem solving strategies k 81 93.8 6.3 0.0 1.94 .24 Practice changes k 81 69.1 27.2 3.7 1.65 .55 Good network, connections k 81 67.9 29.6 2.5 1.65 .53 Information based on research k 81 82.7 16.0 1.2 1.81 .42 Learn from farmer p 81 97.5 2.5 0.0 1.98 .16 Development of ideas k,p 81 91.4 6.2 2.5 1.89 .39 Conduct experiments w/farmer k,p 81 71.6 22.2 6.2 1.65 .60 Teach new skills to farmer k,p 81 90.1 9.9 0.0 1.90 .30 Interest in opinions, ideas p 81 92.6 7.4 0.0 1.93 .26 Joint problem solving p 81 97.5 2.5 0.0 1.98 .16 Joint learning/working p 80 98.3 1.3 0.0 1.99 .11 Identify community issues p 81 82.7 17.3 0.0 1.83 .38 Committed to improving quality of life p 81 63.0 33.3 3.7 1.59 .56 Farmer capacity to evaluate p 81 96.3 3.7 0.0 1.96 .19 Help people help themselves p 81 82.7 16.0 1.2 1.81 .42 Groups in need p 81 72.8 25.9 1.2 1.72 .48

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95Table 4-20. Continued Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Should Be Role N Yes % Maybe % No % Mean SD Farmer conduct own experiments p 81 82.7 11.1 6.2 1.77 .55 Value traditional knowledge p,ic 81 90.1 9.9 0.0 1.90 .30 Value other opinions ic 81 98.8 1.2 0.0 1.99 .11 Creative ic 81 93.8 6.2 0.0 1.94 .24 Good communicator ic 81 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Model of inspiration ic 81 71.6 24.7 3.7 1.68 .54 1The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, 2 = yes. k Questions positioned within the knowledge construct p Questions positioned within the participatory construct ic Questions positioned within the interpersonal characteristics construct

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96Table 4-21. Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Actually Was Role N Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Technical knowledge k 80 55.0 45.0 0.0 1.45 .50 Up-to-date information k 81 59.3 35.8 4.9 1.54 .59 Consult w/other resources specialists k 81 44.4 46.9 8.6 1.36 .64 Help sustainable agriculture efforts k 80 55.0 38.8 6.3 1.49 .62 Committed to region’s ecosystem k 80 36.3 51.3 12.5 1.24 .66 Informant role k 80 38.8 55.0 6.3 1.33 .59 Problem solving strategies k 80 50.0 46.3 3.8 1.46 .57 Practice changes k 80 33.8 57.5 8.8 1.25 .61 Good network, connections k 80 31.3 47.7 21.3 1.10 .72 Information based on research k 80 37.5 53.8 8.8 1.29 .62 Learn from farmer p 80 71.3 25.0 3.8 1.68 .55 Development of ideas k,p 80 52.5 42.5 5.0 1.48 .60 Conduct experiments w/farmer k,p 80 23.8 47.5 28.8 .95 .73 Teach new skills to farmer k,p 80 35.0 57.5 7.5 1.27 .60 Interest in opinions, ideas p 80 82.5 16.3 1.3 1.81 .42 Joint problem solving p 81 56.8 40.7 2.5 1.54 .55 Joint learning/working p 79 82.3 16.5 1.3 1.81 .43 Identify community issues p 80 43.8 48.8 7.5 1.36 .62 Committed to improving life quality p 80 18.8 61.3 20.0 .99 .63 Increase farmer capacity to evaluate p 80 40.0 55.0 5.0 1.35 .58 Help people help themselves p 80 42.5 47.5 10.0 1.33 .65 Groups in need p 80 13.8 48.8 37.5 .76 .68

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97Table 4-21. Continued Perceptions of What the Student Change Agent Role Actually Was Role N Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Farmer conduct own experiments p 80 32.1 43.2 23.5 1.09 .75 Value traditional knowledge p,ic 81 80.2 18.5 1.2 1.79 .44 Value other opinions ic 81 95.1 4.9 0.0 1.95 .22 Creative ic 81 65.4 33.3 1.2 1.64 .51 Good communicator ic 80 88.9 9.9 0.0 1.90 .30 Model of inspiration ic 80 51.3 42.5 6.3 1.45 .61 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Liker-scale: 0 = none, 1 = a little, and 2 = a lot. k Questions positioned within the knowledge construct p Questions positioned within the participatory construct ic Questions positioned within the interpersonal characteristics construct

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Be creative (93.8%) Value and respect different opinions and ideas (98.8%) Students were most undecided whether or not their role should be to: be committed to improving the quality of life of the communit y, have good connections and networks, help the farmer make a behavioral or practice ch ange, or to help the poorest farmers of the community. The highest percentage of “no” re sponses indicated that some students did not think it should be their role as change agents to conduct experiments w ith the farmer or to motivate the farmer to conduct his/her own experiments. Students were then asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 39 statements actually was their role as change agents in the WEM, according to their experience with the program during 2004. This was done by circling th e appropriate choice (a lot, a little, none) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-21). Eighty percen t or more of students responded that they took an interest in the farmers opinions, ideas, and feelings (82.5%); valued and respected different opinions and ideas (95.1%); were effective communicators (88.9%); and valued traditional knowledge (80.2%). The highest percentage of “no” responses indicated that some st udents did not think they helped the groups most in need of the community (37.5%). Farmer Perceptions A total of 31 farmers were as ked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 13 statements “should be” their role in the WEM by choosing the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) from a 3 pt. Likert-scale that the re searcher used from the structured interview guide (Table 4-22).

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99Table 4-22. Farmer Perceptions of their Role in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Role of the Farmer Should Be Role Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Learn from student 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Development of ideas 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Conduct experiments w/student 77.4 22.6 0.0 1.77 .42 Teach new skills to student 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.9 .30 Value traditional knowledge 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Value other opinions 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Joint problem solving 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Identify community issues 93.5 0.0 6.5 1.87 .50 Help sustainable agriculture efforts 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Committed to region’s ecosystem 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Informant role 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Model of inspiration 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Provide educational experiences for students 87.1 12.9 0.0 1.87 .34 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes *Responses from all 31 farmers, N=31.

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All 31 farmers agreed that their role in the WEM should be to: Learn from the student Work well with the student to develop and implement new ideas Value and respect different opinions and ideas Think of solutions together with the student when there are problems Be committed to the ecosystem of the region Serve as an informant bringing information to friends and neighbors Be a model of inspiration to the student The potential role of identifying the probl ems, needs, and hopes of the community was the only one to receive “no” responses (6.5% ). Farmers were most unsure whether or not their role should be to conduct experi ments with the student s (22.6%) or provide educational experiences for the students (12.9%). Farmers were then asked to indicate thei r level of agreement that each of the 13 statements actually was their role in the WEM (according to their experience with the program during 2004) by choosing the appropria te choice (yes, maybe, no)(Table 4-23). All 31 farmers reported that they valued diffe rent ideas and opinions, and were committed to the ecosystem of the region. Almost all of the farmers also repor ted that they learned from the students, worked with students to solve problems when they arose, worked together with students to deve lop and implement ideas, and acted as an informant, sharing information about different practices with neighbors (96.8%, 96.8%, 93.5%, 93.5%, respectively). Farmers were most undecided as to whether or not they were a model of inspiration for the students. A relatively high percentage of farmers reported that they did not conduct experiments with the students (38.7%). Student Perceptions Students were asked to indicate their le vel of agreement th at each of the 13 statements “should be” the role of the farm ers in the WEM by circling the appropriate

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choice (yes, maybe, no) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (T able 4-24). At leas t 90% of the students reported that they feel the farmers should: Work well with the student to develop and implement new ideas Value traditional knowledge Value and respect different opinions and ideas Provide educational experiences for students Students were most undecided as to wh ether farmers should conduct experiments with them; identify the community’s problems, n eeds, and hopes; and act as an informant, sharing information on practices with neighbors. The potential res ponse that received the most “no” responses was that farmers s hould conduct experiments with students.

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102Table 4-23. Farmer Perceptions of thei r Role in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Role of the Farmer Actually Was Role Yes % Maybe% No % Mean1 SD Learn from student 96.8 0.0 3.2 1.94 .36 Development of ideas 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.9 .40 Conduct experiments w/student 51.6 9.7 38.7 1.13 .96 Teach new skills to student 90.3 3.2 6.5 1.84 .52 Value traditional knowledge 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 Value other opinions 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Joint problem solving 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Identify community issues 77.4 9.7 12.9 1.65 .71 Help sustainable agriculture efforts 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.9 .30 Committed to region’s ecosystem 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 Informant role 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Model of inspiration 77.4 19.4 3.2 1.74 .51 Provide educational experiences for students 80.6 12.9 6.5 1.75 .57 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes *Responses from all 31 farmers, N=31.

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103Table 4-24. Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Role of the Farmer Should Be Role N Yes % Maybe % No % Mean1 SD Learn from student 79 79.7 20.3 0.0 1.80 .40 Development of ideas 79 92.4 7.6 0.0 1.92 .27 Conduct experiments w/student 79 68.4 27.8 3.8 1.65 .56 Teach new skills to student 79 81.0 17.7 1.3 1.8 .43 Value traditional knowledge 79 93.7 6.3 0.0 1.94 .24 Value other opinions 79 97.5 2.5 0.0 1.97 .16 Joint problem solving 79 96.2 2.5 1.3 1.95 .27 Identify community issues 79 77.2 22.8 0.0 1.77 .42 Help sustainable agriculture efforts 79 86.1 13.9 0.0 1.86 .35 Committed to region’s ecosystem 79 88.6 11.4 0.0 1.89 .32 Informant role 79 79.7 20.3 0.0 1.80 .40 Model of inspiration 79 88.6 11.4 0.0 1.89 .32 Provide educational experiences for students 79 91.1 7.6 1.3 1.90 .34 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes

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104 Respondents were then asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 13 statements actually was the role of the farmer s in the WEM, according to their experience with the program during 2004, by circling the appropr iate choice (a lot, a little, none) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-25). A slight majority of students agreed that the farmers fulfilled most of the potential roles discussed. The item that received the most “no” responses was that farmers conducted experiments with students (25.6%). Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews Missing Link in Communication During the brief 2-hour or less interviews, the researcher uncovered certain dilemmas the farmers were facing that they said they ha d not revealed to the students that worked with them for 15 weeks. For example, one farm family had some medicinal plants but were unsure how to use them. They specifically reque sted a guidebook to help them make proper use of them. When probed if they had mentioned the intere st to the EARTH student, the answer was, “no.” Another farm household could not use their biodigester because it acquired a hole in the polyethylene bag. They said that they had never considered asking students or faculty from EARTH to help them repair it. When a farmer informed the researcher that they would like the student to bring E.M. to the farm to use and possibly buy, the resear cher asked the respective student about the request. The student said that EARTH did not currently have a supply of E.M. and had to put a hold on making it due to a shortage of ne cessary ingredients. The researcher asked scientists at the university and went to the university store. Not only was there no such shortage, the store was stock-piled with E.M. These instances substa ntiated some of the farmers’ claims that students should communicat e better. It also must be noted that

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105 although these examples existed, most of the farmers commented that their students had good communication skills. Interpretation of “Hard Worker” There was some discrepancy with the m eaning of the word “trabajador.” The researcher was attempting to convey the notion of a “hard-worker,” but realized that the translation is not universally understood as such Most of the farmers were skeptical about this word because they were afraid that if th ey answered affirmatively, it would appear that they were slave-drivers or were only interested in cheap labor. Most of the farmers tried to communicate that while it is important that th e students work hard, they were just as interested, if not more, in their abilities as c onsultants, informants, sources of ideas, and the like. They were more interested in the in formation brought by the students than the manual labor they could provide. Often times, th is resulted in a “maybe” response.

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106Table 4-25. Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module Perceptions of What the Role of the Farmer Actually Was Role N Yes % Maybe% No % Mean1 SD Learn from student 78 55.1 41.0 3.8 1.51 .57 Development of ideas 78 47.4 48.7 3.8 1.44 .57 Conduct experiments w/student 78 20.5 53.8 25.6 .95 .68 Teach new skills to student 78 51.3 34.6 14.1 1.37 .72 Value traditional knowledge 78 65.4 30.8 3.8 1.62 .56 Value other opinions 78 76.9 17.9 5.1 1.72 .56 Joint problem solving 78 53.8 39.7 6.4 1.47 .62 Identify community issues 78 29.5 57.7 12.8 1.17 .63 Help sustainable agriculture efforts 78 52.6 38.5 9.0 1.44 .66 Committed to region’s ecosystem 78 46.2 43.6 10.3 1.36 .66 Informant role 78 33.3 56.4 10.3 1.23 .62 Model of inspiration 78 61.5 32.1 6.4 1.55 .62 Provide educational experiences for students 78 59.0 26.9 14.1 1.45 .73 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3pt. Likert-scale: 0 = none, 1 = a little, and 2 = a lot

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107 Technical Knowledge The rationale behind farmers’ answers to whether or not students should have technical knowledge in the appropriate area was usually one of the following: The student should have techni cal knowledge in the areas that the farmer wanted help with…or else, what good would they be? Wasn’t the point of the course to help them improve this knowledge? So, their technical knowledge doesn’t have to be great…hopefully by the end of their time with the farmer, it will have improved. A few farmers placed a high importance on the students having technical knowledge because they never had the opportunity to rece ive a formal education. This was their only way to become educated. Theoretical and Practical Knowledge Dyad Another common theme was th e opinion that the combin ation of theoretical and practical knowledge was optimum and only achieved when a two-way exchange of knowledge occurred. According to the farmer s, this meant that the students brought the theoretical knowledge and they shared their practi cal knowledge with them. Environmental Consciousness Many farmers expressed having awareness of the importance of the environment and the health of the rivers in particular. Farmers were empha tic that the students helped educate them on the negative eff ects that animal waste and the use of fertilizers can have on the environment and served to motivate them to use fewer chemicals and plant trees. Professionalism Most farmers interpreted the question as king if students acted in a professional manner in a way unanticipated by the researcher The farmers perceived this question to mean that the student conducted him or herself in a manner that reflected superiority over

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108 the farmer. Most farmers responded that the students should not, and did not act professionally. Trust as a Prerequisite for Communication Just as communication came through as an im portant interpersonal characteristic, so did trust. Farmers perceived tr ust actually as a prerequisite to good communication. As part of the students preparation for working with th e farmers, the researcher witnessed faculty encouraging students to eat whatev er food is placed in front of them when at all possible, as a matter of courtesy. Interestingly, the resear cher found that the example the farmers used most to substantiate that th e students were honest and si ncere was when students were honest about what they did or did not like to eat. Social Benefits While many of the farmers looked to th e students to bring knowledge, ideas, information, and motivation, some farmers were mo re interested in the social benefits of having the students. One farmer recounts. “I don’t have daughters and my last student filled that space for me. The students feel like part of the family and I like to just spend time with them…talking, even watching T.V.” This sentiment of the farmers was not gender specific. Gender During the interviews, it was noted whether the farmer had males or females working on their farm. If the farmer had more than one student, the farmer was asked to evaluate each of them. There was no significant diffe rences reported by gender. The following statements were made: “[male] had more technical knowledge than [female] because he has a farm background,” “ [female] was a little mo re creative than [male],” “[female] taught me more skills that I could actually apply than [male].”

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109 Students as a Link to Experts Farmers elaborated on the importance of the students as links between them and the university. Even when the students did have the information themselves, the farmers viewed the students as their access to the info rmation of the professors and relied on them to bring the information they requested to the fa rm. They are seen as necessary in order to guide research studies done at the university so they are applicable to the farmers. When this system of communication was sa id to be weak, the lack of professor involvement was always the reason given. Fa rmers expressed the desire to have more contact with the prof essors, especially in La Argentina. Qualitative Findings from Farmer Focus Groups During the final stage of data collection, the researcher organized and facilitated focus groups in each of the farming communitie s to clarify questions and comments that arose during the farmer interviews and to pr ovide the opportunity for farmers to elaborate and speak candidly. Focus groups contained from four to seven participants. Only one farmer attended the proposed meeting in th e community, El Hogar, so an interview was conducted with him and results were incorporat ed into those from the farmer interviews. Therefore, focus groups were only conducte d in the other communities; two in La Argentina and one in La Lucha. A neutral f acilitator with experience in participatory investigation whose native langua ge is Spanish was identified at EARTH University to cofacilitate the farmer focus groups with the principle researcher. Farmer Focus Group Findings: Objective 2 Roles of the farmers and students When farmers were asked what they felt was (were) the role(s) of the students, two themes emerged. It was evident that the farmer s perceived the students’ role to be to give

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110 as well as to receive. The c oncept of an exchange is consta nt throughout their responses. Some farmers felt that the st udents taught the farmers, while others felt as though the farmers were doing most of the teaching. In terms of giving, the farmers viewed the students as bringing knowledge and ideas, and helping the farmers to network. Farmers were aware that both theoretical and practical knowledge were most effective when used as a dyad and felt that the students contributed greatly to their ba se of theoretical knowledge. Farmers mentioned that they felt that the stud ents also contributed to knowledge in the areas of sustainable agriculture, waste manage ment, and practices that reduce agricultural impacts on the environment. Farmers did rec ognize that students we re not experts, but perceived them as their point of access to the experts, and other knowledgeable entities and sources of information through EARTH. The farmers expressed that they wanted an environment for mutual learning. It was emphasi zed repeatedly that the farmers preferred that students bring new ideas and information than manual labor. This concept was also evidenced in the farmers’ hesitance at using the word “trabajador,” discussed previously. In fact, farmers listed their fear that the student may feel enslaved as one of their preoccupations. However, when asked to fr ee-list the hopes and exp ectations the farmers had of their students, the female farmers listed such things as “a hard worker,” “physically able,” a student that is phys ically big and can do double the work of one man,” and “the savior.” The second dominant theme that emerged was that the students were also supposed to receive something from this experience. The farmers felt that they were supposed to be giving the students a genuine perspective of th e real life of the farmer… “our food, our values, our customs…” Farmers felt that it was their role to teach the students how people work in the country… “people that don’t have formal education…to see that the manner in

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111 which they work is different and that we can exchange practices.” Farmers stated that the students truly received an accurate perspective of the farmers’ way of life: “This is a real experience for the students…the farmers don’t act artificially becau se the students are here…for example, when it rains, the farmer s don’t work…and so neither do the students. The farmers don’t continue to work in the ra in just for the sake of the students.” One role of the students that the farmer s admitted they hadn’t counted on was their company. A farmer recounted, “The compa ny of the students…it was like they were friends, sons, or daughters…part of the famil y…” The farmers portray ed their relationship with students as very strong, evidenced by the fa ct that the students stayed in contact with the farmers long after they were finished with the module. “[Beside s everything else] they teach us English, to write, help us translate letters, and stay in c ontact from the moment they leave.” Qualitative Findings from Student Focus Groups During the final stage of data collection, the researcher organized and facilitated student focus groups to clarify questions a nd comments that arose during the student surveys and to provide the opportunity for stude nts to elaborate and speak candidly (n = 812). Representative students from La Argen tina, La Lucha, and El Hogar attended the focus groups. A bilingual student was chosen to co-facilitate both focus groups with the principle researcher. Findings from Student Fo cus Groups: Objective 2 How farmers perceived the students In order to gain an understanding of th e dynamic of the relationship between the student change agent and the farmer, the resear cher asked the students to describe how they think that their host farmer perceived them (t he students themselves). Common themes

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112 were that the farmers recognized the students’ willingness to work, their contribution to solving problems, their desire to make a di fference, and potential as an opportunity for cultural exchange. Students also mentioned that instead of bei ng seen as consultants, they were often seen as a: spectator, child, friend, or visitor. While most students felt that the farmers acknowledged their motivation and inte rest in helping the farmer, one student reported that his farmer only saw him as “a student who needed to pass the class.” How Students Perceived the Farmers Students were then asked how they perceive d the farmers, in their own words. Many contradictions arose. While some students re ported comments such as, “Conservative and closed minded: not willing to make changes on the farm,” others presented their farmers more like “a visionary…a dreamer who found motiv ation in life…” Overall, the students found their host-farmers to be “good people,” or “buena gente.” Purpose of Course and Achi evement of Stated Purpose Students were first asked to name as few or as many purposes of the WEM that they believed existed, in their own words. Once thes e purposes were recorded, clusters of 2 or 3 students were asked to come up with a scor e for each purpose, indicating if had been achieved according to their ex perience in the WEM. The pur poses that were reported as being well accomplished, given a score of 5, were the following: To discover possible solutions and alternatives with the farmers, to acquire experien ce, to put university knowledge to practice, to develop our (student ) knowledge, to grow pr ofessionally, to help develop farm goals with the farmer, and to grow personally. Some other purposes accomplished well (a score 4) were: to expose the students to reality and to let the farmers know our (students’) technical comp etency and capacity to make a difference through problem solving. Purposes stated by the students that they felt were hardly

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113 accomplished (score 3.5) included: contributing to the eq uality of life of the farm family and encouraging an entrepreneurial mentality (w ithin the farmer). One group felt that they had made effective use of participatory methods (score of 5) while another group identified this as a weakness (score of 2). Positive Experiences Students were give slips of paper and asked to brainstorm about their experiences in regard to the WEM. Then, they were asked write down positive experi ences (if any) on one side of the paper, and negative experiences (if any) on the other side of the paper. Students then anonymously handed in the papers. Studen ts recounted a myriad of rich experiences that ranged from applying knowledge and principl es to various situations, building trust and the skill of being empathetic, and even maki ng soaps, candles, and Bokashi while at the same farm! Students mentioned learning how to work with farmers even when they were reluctant to try something, and having the oppor tunity to apply their knowledge directly to issues on the farm. Negative Experiences Students also described negative experien ces. The most common theme related to gender. The following quotes depict it most accu rately: “The farmer always looked to the male student for confirmation of everything a nd anything I said; only he had credibility and had to validate what I said” and “My student partner was more of a ‘machista’ [chauvinist] than the farmer and challenged me the whole time…[regarding] who could do more manual labor…so, I didn’t learn anything valuable.” Other students reported having their progress impeded by problems between partners regardless of gender as well. Other themes were the lack of motivation of the farmer to work on projects with the st udents and that rain prevented them from working.

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114 Utilization of Time Students were asked to discuss the good a nd poor uses of time during the WEM. It was clear that the students valued their soci al time with the farmers, learning, and making progress in terms of their projects. Common good uses of time were: lunch time to share and chat with the farmer; in the morning hours…work in the morning is always more productive; working on specific projects on the farm; exchanging knowledge with the farmer; learning; when the farmer is excited about new projects aside from his / her daily routine and chores. Students offered severe criticism of both the WEM workshops held at the university for the students, and the work shops put on for the farmers. The students claimed that the workshop for students “are repetitive…you don’t lear n anything and they are boring and the material is obvious.” They al so stated that “farmers are unmotivated to go to the workshops in the community because they are expected to go year after year “ and “…the topics are not of interest to the major ity of the farmers.” Students considered the following poor utilization of time: the works hops for the students held at EARTH (“They take time away from us working with the farmers because we have to leave early to return to campus and the workshops stink”); the work shops held in the comm unity; the topics at the workshops; and when the farmers don’t want to work because of rain or because they want to rest in the afternoon. Objective 2 (previously st ated), and Objective 3. To determine the perceptions of the farmers, students, and faculty with respect to the present role of the WEM in community development, and what they perceive the role sh ould be. This part of the chapter combines objectives 2 and 3 because many of the questi ons regarding the role of the WEM relate directly or indirectly to community development.

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115 Perception of the Participants regarding the role of the Work Experience Module (WEM) Faculty Perceptions The faculty were asked to indicate thei r level of agreement that each of the 16 statements “should be” the role of the WEM by circling the appropria te choice (yes, maybe, no) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-26). The possible roles were gene rated from the stated objectives and mission of the WEM as set forth by EARTH University and from the researcher’s prior experience with participants of the program. A strong majority of faculty answered “yes” to all of the roles listed except the role stating that the WEM should “Support individua l projects only.” A strong majority disagreed with this statement. All 9 facu lty members thought that the roles of the WEM should include: The WEM should function as a point of e ducational interchange between students, professors, and local farmers It should function to aid effort s in sustainable agriculture It should identify aspects where the un iversity should focus its research It should serve as a communication li nk between research and the farmers It should be used to transfer informati on to farmers that is based on research It should use the students as a link betw een technology, knowledge, and services of other institutions that work in th e humid tropic region and the farmers It should serve as a component of an integr ated extension system that would consist of EARTH, the Ministry of Agriculture (government ex tension service), and other entities that are involved in extension efforts It should be a means to inform and teach farmers about global events (ie. NAFTA, CAFTA) that affect agriculture markets

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116 The most faculty reporting to be undecide d on an item (indicating “maybe”) occurred with the statement that the WEM should impr ove the quality of life of the farmers. Faculty members were then asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 16 statements actually was the role of the WEM, according to their experience with the program during 2004 (Table 4-26). Most of th e faculty felt that in 2004, the WEM served: to aid in efforts of sustainabl e agriculture, to provide information to the farmers that was based on research, as a point of communication between the researchers and the farmers, to help farmers to make practice and behavior changes on their farms, and as a point of interchange between students, professors and local farmers (96.8%, 93.5%, 93.5%, 87.1%, 83.9%, respectively). The major ity of the faculty did not th ink that the WEM served: to support only individual projects of farmer s (rather than supporting farmers working together), as a component of an integrat ed extension system, to help farmers work collectively (80.6%, 54.8%, and 51.6%, respectively). The last page of the questionnaire contai ned space for the faculty to comment or perhaps elaborate or explain why they res ponded a certain way on th e questionnaire. The following comments were made: “It’s necessary to do more participator y research in the communities with a systematic methodology rather than improvisi ng” and “State institutions are very paternalistic and we shouldn’t just give things to the farmers [like free hand-outs]. When the institution takes away its support, they abandon the producer, leave him with nothing, and all the work and effort is lost.”

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117Table 4-26. Faculty Percep tions of the Role of th e Work Experience Module. Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Should Be (%) Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Actually Was (%) Role N Yes Maybe No Mean1 SD N Yes MaybeNo Mean1 SD Point of educational interchange 9 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 9 77.8 11.1 11.1 1.67 .71 Behavior, practice change 9 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 9 66.7 33.3 0.0 1.67 .50 Efforts in sustainable agriculture 9 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 9 55.6 44.4 0.0 1.55 .53 Aid members of the community in greatest need 9 44.4 44.4 11.1 1.30 .71 9 44.4 44.4 11.1 1.30 .71 Compliment MAG 9 33.3 0.0 66.7 0.67 1.00 9 44.4 11.1 44.4 1.00 1.00 Improve community quality of life 9 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 9 66.7 33.3 0.0 1.67 .50 University research efforts focused on community needs 9 77.8 22.2 0.0 1.78 .44 9 22.2 44.4 33.3 0.89 .78 Point of communication between researchers and farmers 9 88.9 11.1 0.0 1.90 .33 9 33.3 22.2 44.4 0.89 .93 Incorporate national priorities 9 44.4 11.1 44.4 1.00 1.00 9 22.2 22.2 55.6 0.67 .87 Provide information based on research 9 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 9 33.3 66.7 0.0 1.30 .50 Use students as a connection 9 88.9 0.0 11.1 1.78 .67 9 22.2 66.7 11.1 1.11 .60 Component of an integrated extension system 9 55.6 44.4 0.0 1.56 .53 9 22.2 77.8 54.8 1.22 .44 Inform about global events 9 77.8 22.2 0.0 1.78 .44 9 33.3 55.6 11.1 1.22 .67 Support individual projects only 9 11.1 11.1 77.8 .33 .71 9 11.1 22.2 66.7 .44 .73 More support for urgent problems/issues 9 77.8 11.1 11.1 1.67 .71 9 55.6 33.3 11.1 1.40 .73 Help farmers work collectively 9 88.9 0.0 11.1 1.78 .67 9 44.4 55.6 0.0 1.40 .53 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes

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118 Student Perceptions The students were asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 16 statements “should be” the role of the WE M (Table 4-27). The possible roles were generated from the stated objectives and mission of the WEM as set forth by EARTH University and from the researcher’s prior ex perience with participan ts of the program. Most of the students agreed with each of the possible roles except that the WEM should only support individual proj ects (rather than farmers working together) and that it should compliment the extension activities of MAG. On thes e two particular items, the majority of student responses were split between “no” and “maybe.” At least 83% agreed that the following should be roles of the WEM (from the highest percent): The WEM should function as a point of e ducational interchange between students, professors, and local farmers It should serve as a communication li nk between research and the farmers It should function to aid effort s in sustainable agriculture It should be used to transfer informati on to farmers that is based on research It should use the students as a link betw een technology, knowledge, and services of other institutions that work in th e humid tropic region and the farmers It should help farmers make behavior al and practice changes on their farms It should provide more support for student projects that reflect the most urgent problems and needs of the community It should help farmers work collectively It should identify aspects where the un iversity should focus its research Students were then asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 16 statements actually was the role of the WE M, according to their experience with the program during 2004 (Table 4-27). The major ity of students felt the WEM did serve as a

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119 point of educational interchange between students, professors, and farmers; that it helped farmers make behavioral and practice changes; and that it helped farm ers work collectively (51.3%, 57.7%, and 51.3%, respectively). The pote ntial role that received the most “no” responses was that the module complimented the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension efforts. Farmer Perceptions Farmers were asked to indicate their level of agreement that each of the 16 statements “should be” the role of the WEM by circling the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) on a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-28). The possible ro les were generated from the stated objectives and mission of the WEM as set forth by EARTH Un iversity and from the researcher’s prior experience with particip ants of the program.

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120Table 4-27. Student Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module. Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Should Be (%) Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Actually Was (%) Role N Yes Maybe No Mean1 SD N Yes MaybeNo Mean2 SD Point of educational interchange 80 93.8 5.0 1.3 1.93 .31 78 51.3 39.7 9.0 1.42 .65 Behavior, practice change 80 86.3 12.5 13.8 1.85 .39 78 57.7 38.5 3.8 1.54 .57 Efforts in sustainable agriculture 80 91.3 8.8 0.0 1.91 .28 78 50.0 46.2 3.8 1.46 .57 Aid members of the community in greatest need 80 72.5 25.0 2.5 1.70 .51 78 42.3 47.4 10.3 1.32 .65 Compliment MAG 80 45.0 31.3 23.8 1.21 .81 78 21.8 35.9 42.3 0.79 .78 Improve community quality of life 80 76.3 20.0 3.8 1.73 .52 78 42.3 48.7 9.0 1.33 .64 University research efforts focused on community needs 80 83.8 15.0 1.3 1.83 .41 78 32.1 46.2 21.8 1.10 .73 Point of communication between researchers and farmers 80 90.0 10.0 0.0 1.90 .30 78 41.0 43.6 15.4 1.26 .71 Incorporate national priorities 80 68.8 25.0 6.3 1.63 .60 78 29.5 48.7 21.8 1.08 .72 Provide information based on research 80 91.3 8.8 0.0 1.91 .284 78 46.2 44.9 9.0 1.37 .65 Use students as a connection 80 88.8 10.0 1.3 1.88 .37 78 43.6 39.7 16.7 1.27 .73 Component of an integrated extension system 80 63.0 27.5 8.8 1.55 .65 78 19.2 51.3 29.5 0.90 .65 Inform about global events 80 81.3 16.3 2.5 1.79 .47 78 33.3 35.9 30.8 1.03 .81 Support individual projects only 80 38.3 30.0 31.3 1.08 .84 78 25.6 42.3 32.1 0.94 .76 More support for urgent problems/issues 80 86.3 12.5 1.3 1.85 .39 78 35.9 48.7 15.4 1.21 .69 Help farmers work collectively 80 83.8 15.0 1.3 1.83 .41 78 51.3 30.8 17.9 1.33 .77 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes 2 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3pt. Likert-scale: 0 = none, 1 = a little, and 2 = a lot

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121 The majority of the farmers agreed that the WEM should fulfill all the 16 potential roles except that it should only support individual farmer pr ojects (rather than supporting farmers working together). All 31 farmers agre ed that the role of the WEM should include: The WEM should function as a point of e ducational interchange between students, professors, and local farmers It should function to aid effort s in sustainable agriculture It should identify aspects where the un iversity should focus its research It should serve as a communication li nk between research and the farmers It should be used to transfer informati on to farmers that is based on research It should use the students as a link betw een technology, knowledge, and services of other institutions that work in th e humid tropic region and the farmers It should serve as a component of an integr ated extension system that would consist of EARTH, the Ministry of Agriculture (government ex tension service), and other entities that are involved in extension efforts It should be a means to inform and teach farmers about global events (ie. NAFTA, CAFTA) that affect agriculture markets Farmers were most undecided on whether or not the role of the module should be to improve the quality of life of the community. The majority felt strongly that the module should not only support projects of individual farmers. Farmers were then asked to indicate thei r level of agreement that each of the 16 statements actually was the role of the WE M, according to their experience with the program during 2004, by choosing the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) from a 3 pt. Likert-scale (Table 4-28). Mo st of the farmers reported that the WEM aided in efforts in sustainable agriculture, served as a communi cation link between researchers and farmers, and provided information based on research (96.8%, 93.5%, and 93.5% respectfully). Table 4-28 provides the complete results. The majority of farmers felt that the module did

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122 not only support individual pr ojects and did not serve as a component of an integrated extension system. Interestingly, 48.4% of the farmers answered “yes” that the module complimented the extension efforts of the Mi nistry of Agriculture (MAG) and 48.4% of the farmers answered “no,” indicating that the module did not complimented MAG. The items that received the most “maybe” responses were whether or not the module improved the quality of life of the commun ity, and whether or not univers ity research efforts were actually focused on community needs.

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123Table 4.28. Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module. Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Should Be (%) Perceptions of What the Role of the WEM Actually Was (%) Role N Yes Maybe No Mean1 SD N Yes Maybe No Mean1 SD Point of educational interchange 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 83.9 6.5 9.7 1.74 .631 Behavior, practice change 31 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 31 87.1 9.7 3.2 1.84 .45 Efforts in sustainable agriculture 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 Aid members of the community in greatest need 31 90.3 3.2 6.5 1.84 .53 31 61.3 29.0 9.7 1.52 .68 Compliment MAG 31 96.8 0.0 3.2 1.94 .40 31 48.4 3.2 48.4 1.00 1.00 Improve community quality of life 31 90.3 9.7 0.0 1.90 .30 31 64.5 22.6 12.9 1.52 .72 University research efforts focused on community needs 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 64.5 25.8 9.7 1.55 .67 Point of communication between researchers and farmers 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 .00 31 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Incorporate national priorities 31 96.8 3.2 0.0 1.97 .18 31 74.2 9.7 16.1 1.58 .76 Provide information based on research 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 93.5 6.5 0.0 1.94 .25 Use students as a connection 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 48.4 9.7 41.9 1.06 .96 Component of an integrated extension system 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 35.5 9.7 54.8 0.81 .95 Inform about global events 31 100.0 0.0 0.0 2.00 .00 31 74.2 9.7 16.1 1.58 .76 Support individual projects only 31 12.9 6.5 80.6 .32 .70 31 12.9 6.5 80.6 0.32 .70 More support for urgent problems/issues 31 93.5 3.2 3.2 1.90 .40 31 58.1 25.8 16.1 1.42 .76 Help farmers work collectively 31 90.3 3.2 6.5 1.84 .52 31 32.3 16.1 51.6 .81 .91 1 The mean was calculated from responses corresponding to a 3 pt. Likert-scale: 0 = no, 1 = maybe, and 2 = yes.

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124 Objective 4. To identify consistencies or incons istencies within and between the groups of respondents (students, farmers, a nd faculty) through triangulation of the data obtained by objectives 2 and 3 Differences between what Should Be and what Actually Was In order to identify consistencies or in consistencies within groups of responses between what their perceptions of what each role should be and what it actually was according to their first-hand experience as partic ipants in the module, paired t-tests were run for each should be actually was pair. Scores were assigned for each answer (yes, maybe, no) according to a 3 pt. Likert-scale with the values of 2, 1, or 0. The measure that was analyzed is the mean difference between the paired scores at the .05 significance level. Paired t-test for the Role of the WEM Faculty Paired Response Test Table 4-29 shows the faculty paired response test with respect to the role of the WEM. Six of the 16 were found to be signi ficant at the .05 level. Results indicate a significant discrepancy between what farmers fe lt the role of the WEM should be and what it actually was in 2004 in terms of the follo wing (with the mean differences of .60 or greater): serving as a communication link be tween research and the farmers (1.0); identifying aspects where the university shoul d focus its research (.89); being used to transfer information to farmers that is based on research (.67); and us ing the students as a link between technology, knowledge, and services of other institutions that work in the humid tropic region and the farmers (.67). Student Paired Response Test Table 4-30 shows the student paired response test with respect to the role of the WEM. All 16 items were found to be significan t at the .05 level for a number of items.

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125 Those with the greatest mean differences be tween what the students felt the role of the WEM should be and what it actually was in 2004 were: informing and teaching farmers about global events (ie. NAFTA, CAFTA) that affect agriculture markets (.77); identifying aspects where the university shou ld focus its research (.73); serving as a component of an integrated extension system that would cons ist of EARTH, the Ministry of Agriculture (government extension service), and other enti ties that are involved in extension efforts (.70); supporting projects that reflect the most urgent proble ms facing the community (.65); serving as a communication link between resear ch and the farmers (.65); and using students as a link between technology, knowledge, and services of other institutions that work in the humid tropic region and the farmers (.62).

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126Table 4-29. Faculty Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Behavior, practice change .33 .50 2.000 .081 Efforts in sustainable agriculture .44 .53 2.530 .035 Improve community quality of life .33 .50 2.000 .081 University research efforts focused on community needs .89 .93 2.874 .021 Point of communication between researchers and farmers 1.0 .87 3.464 .009 Provide information based on research .67 .50 4.000 .004 Use students as a connection .67 .50 4.000 .004 Component of an integrated extension system .33 .50 2.000 .081 Inform about global events .56 .53 3.162 .013 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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127Table 4-30. Student Paired Response Test: Role of th e Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Point of educational interchange .50 .64 6.904 .001 Behavior, practice change .31 .67 4.053 .001 Efforts in sustainable agriculture .46 .60 6.835 .001 Aid members of the community in greatest need .41 .67 5.384 .001 Compliment MAG .44 .82 4.722 .001 Improve community quality of life .41 .63 5.722 .001 University research efforts focused on community needs .73 .75 8.602 .001 Point of communication between researchers and farmers .65 .72 8.047 .001 Incorporate national priorities .56 .70 7.170 .001 Provide information based on research .54 .66 7.222 .001 Use students as a connection .62 .71 7.690 .001 Component of an integrated extension system .70 .80 7.524 .001 Inform, global events .77 .85 7.977 .001

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128Table 4-30. Continued Role Mean1 SD t Significance Support individual projects only .13 .57 1.998 .049 More support for urgent problems/issues .65 .74 7.851 .001 Help farmers work collectively .50 .73 6.015 .001 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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129 Farmer Paired Response Test Table 4-31 shows the farmer paired response test with respect to the role of the WEM. Eleven items were found to be signifi cant at the .05 level. Results indicate a significant discrepancy between what farmers felt the role of the WEM should be and what it actually was in 2004 in terms of th e following (with the mean of the differences of .60 or greater): serving as a component of an integrated extension system that would consist of EARTH, the Ministry of Agricult ure (government extension service), and other entities that are involved in extension effo rts (1.19); helping farmers work collectively (1.03); and complimenting the exte nsion efforts of MAG (.94). Paired t-test for the Role of the Farmer in the WEM Student Paired Response Test Table 4-32 shows the student paired response test with respect to the role of the farmer in the WEM. All 13 items were found to be significant at the .05 level. Mean differences of at least .60 be tween means of what students fe lt the role of the farmer should be and what it actually was in 2004 were reported for the following (with the mean of the differences for each): conducting experiments with the student (.69); and identifying the communities problems, needs, and hopes (.60). Farmer Paired Response Test Table 4-33 shows the farmer paired response test with respect to their role in the WEM. Only 3 items were found to be signi ficant at the .05 level. The only mean difference of at least .60 between means of what farmers felt their role should be and what it actually was in 2004 was reported for the following: conducting experiments with the student (.65).

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130 Paired t-test for the Role of the Student in the WEM Student Paired Response Test Table 4-34 shows the student paired response test with respect to their role in the WEM. Twenty-seven of the 28 items were found to be significant at the .05 level. Mean differences of at least .60 be tween means of what students fe lt their role should be and what it actually was in 2004 were reporte d for the following (with the mean of the differences for each): helping those of the community most in need (.96); conducting experiments with farmers (.70); stimulating farmers to conduct their own experiments (.68); teaching the farmer new skills (.63); and being committed to improving the quality of life of the community (.60); and be ing committed to the region’s ecosystem.

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131Table 4-31. Farmer Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Point of educational interchange .26 .63 2.278 .030 Aid members of the community in greatest need .32 .65 2.752 .010 Compliment MAG .94 1.00 5.220 .001 Improve community quality of life .39 .80 2.683 .012 University research efforts focused on community needs .45 .68 3.724 .001 Incorporate national priorities .39 .80 2.683 .012 Use students as a connection .94 .96 5.404 .001 Component of an integrated extension system 1.19 .95 7.026 .001 Inform about global events .42 .77 3.053 .005 More support for urgent problems/issues .48 .72 3.719 .001 Help farmers work collectively 1.03 1.10 5.323 .001 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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132Table 4-32. Student Paired Res ponse Test: Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Learn from student .30 .63 4.157 .001 Development of ideas .49 .62 6.953 .001 Conduct experiments w/student .69 .74 8.219 .001 Teach new skills to student .42 .72 5.248 .001 Value traditional knowledge .32 .57 4.969 .001 Value other opinions .26 .59 3.833 .001 Joint problem solving .47 .60 7.017 .001 Identify community issues .60 .61 8.720 .001 Help sustainable agriculture efforts .42 .64 5.885 .001 Committed to region’s ecosystem .54 .70 6.825 .001 Informant role .56 .64 7.829 .001 Model of inspiration .35 .58 5.296 .001 Provide educational experiences for students .46 .64 6.385 .001 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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133Table 4-33. Farmer Paired Response Test: Th eir Role in the Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Conduct experiments w/student .65 .84 4.284 .001 Identify community issues .23 .56 2.244 .032 Help sustainable agriculture efforts .10 .30 1.793 .083 Model of inspiration .26 .51 2.794 .009 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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134Table 4-34. Student Paired Re sponse Test: Their Role in the Work Experience Module. Role Mean1 SD t Significance Technical knowledge .54 .50 9.582 .001 Learn from farmer .30 .54 4.995 .001 Development of ideas .41 .65 5.675 .001 Conduct experiments w/farmer .70 .70 8.934 .001 Farmer conduct own experiments .68 .67 9.000 .001 Teach new skills to farmer .63 .58 9.607 .001 Value traditional knowledge .11 .42 2.390 .019 Value other opinions .04 .19 1.754 .083 Joint problem solving .43 .55 7.118 .001 Up-to-date information .41 .57 6.487 .001 Consult w/other resources, specialists .43 .55 7.118 .001 Creative .30 .511 5.219 .001 Interest in opinions, ideas .11 .36 2.830 .006 Good communicator .10 .30 2.963 .004 Joint learning/working .18 .42 3.783 .001 Identify community issues .46 .62 6.726 .001 Help sustainable agriculture efforts .41 .61 6.049 .001 Committed to improving quality of life .60 .63 8.540 .001

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135Table 4-34. Continued Role Mean1 SD t Significance Committed to region’s ecosystem .60 .67 8.040 .001 Informant role .53 .55 8.528 .001 Increase farmer capacity to evaluate .61 .58 9.373 .001 Problem solving strategies .48 .57 7.413 .001 Practice changes .40 .65 5.519 .001 Model of inspiration .24 .56 3.815 .001 Help people help themselves .49 .55 7.913 .001 Good network, connections .55 .67 7.308 .001 Groups in need .96 .70 12.270 .001 Information based on research .54 .59 8.092 .001 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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136 Farmer Paired Response Test Table 4-35 shows the farmer paired response test with respect to the role of the student change agent in the WEM Only 4 of the 39 items were found to be significant at the .05 level. Mean differences of at least .60 between means of what the farmers felt the role of the students should be and what they thought it actually wa s in 2004 were reported for none of the items.. Interestingly, student s being a ‘hard worker’ received a -.23, indicating that farmers perceive d that students actually were more hard working than they thought they should be. Objective 5. To correlate perceptions of the WEM with the le vel of adoption of CIAS In order to investigat e the possibility that the farmer s’ perceptions of the student change agent affects the farmers’ decisions to utilize CIAS, the researcher conducted quantitative statistical tests. The questions regarding the role of the student change agent on the farmers’ interview guide were developed to fit into one of th e following categories: knowledge, participation, and interpersonal char acteristics. Using summative scales to analyze the questions falling w ithin each category, the researcher used a data reduction technique through SPSS statistical software to test the reli ability of aggregating like questions into 3 different c onstructs. Chronbach’s Alpha was reported at an acceptable level (.728) for the knowledge construct but no t for the constructs of participation or interpersonal characteristics. The researcher then conducted a crosstabs analysis of the knowledge construct (which repr esented all of the ‘knowledge ’ questions) with questions pertaining to farmer adoption of alternative agriculture practices. Crosstabs were also run for each of the questions within the partic ipation and interpers onal characteristics categories, and the same questions pertaining to farmer adoption of a lternative agriculture practices. Two-by-two continge ncy tables were created and no statistically reported chi

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137 squared values were reported fo r each of the set of variables (p > .05). Therefore, there was not enough evidence that a rela tionship existed between farm er perceptions of student change agents and thei r adoption of CIAS.

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138Table 4-35. Farmer Paired Response Test: The Role of the Student Change Agent in the Work Experience Module Role Mean1 SD t Significance Conduct experiments w/farmer .065 .44 0.812 .001 Farmer conduct own experiments .16 .52 1.718 .096 Teach new skills to farmer .16 .52 1.718 .096 Value traditional knowledge .16 .45 1.976 .057 Hard worker -.23 .62 -2.038 .050 Creative .10 .10 1.793 .083 Good communicator .13 .34 2.108 .043 Committed to improving quality of life .23 .67 1.880 .070 Problem solving strategies .16 .45 1.976 .057 Practice changes .16 .60 1.793 .083 Groups in need .32 .60 2.997 .005 Information based on research .16 .52 1.718 .096 1 Refers to the mean of the differences, calculated by: should be – was responses.

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139 Summary This chapter presented the results of the research pe rtaining to EARTH University’s Work Experience Program in term s of the perceptions of its participants, and the level of adoption of alternative agricultu ral systems / practices among participating farmers. Basic descriptive statistics were used to analyze responses from the coded questionnaire that was utilized as a census survey for students and faculty and as a structured interview guide for individual farmer interviews. This data generated an understanding of each group of participants’ per ceptions of their own role and the role of the other participants involv ed in the 2004 WEM. Data fr om the questionnaire also revealed participant percepti ons of the role of the WE M as a whole, and adoption practices of components of an integrated ag ricultural system (IAS) among participating farmers. Qualitative data was also collected from focus groups with students and farmers and from conversations during farmer inte rviews. Triangulati on through comparing quantitative and qualitative findings a nd results among and between respondents provided a way to more fully understand th e phenomena being studied and provided more credibility to the analyses. The next chapter will present conclusions for each of the five research objectives accompanied by discussion.

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140 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Introduction This chapter presents the conclusions for each of the five research objectives and its components, accompanied by discussion. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the objectives and methodology utilized followe d by discussion and conclusions for each of the objectives. Throughout the discussions are recommendations to assist change agents in their efforts to help farmers adopt and implement appropriate sustainable technologies by giving farmers the opportunity to provide direct feedback regarding educational principles and in terpersonal skills employed by EARTH faculty and students in the Work Experience Module (WEM). This information may then be used to establish a model recommended for broader scale adop tion or to guide modifications to the existing model. Objectives of the Study The general purpose of the study was to evaluate the Work Experience Module according to the perceptions of the participan ts and the level of adoption of components of an Integrated Agricultural System (IAS) among participating farmers. To accomplish this, the following research objectives a nd sub-objectives were formulated: 1. Identify factors effecting the farmers’ decisions to utilize components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) by: a. identifying components of an integrated agricultural system being utilized on each farm;

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141 b. identifying the source from which the farmer became aware and learned about the component of an in tegrated agricultural system; c. identifying the farmer’s reasons for adopting, rejecting, or discontinuing the use of a component of an in tegrated agricultural system; d. determining if a relations hip exists between the ad option of a component, or components of an integrated ag ricultural system and household characteristics such as farmer gender, and availability of resources (such as land, labor, economic, and other); 2. To determine the perceptions of the participan ts in relation to their role and the role of other participants of the Work Experience Module, WEM through: a. determining the perceptions of the stude nt agents and farmers with respect to their own present roles in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be; a. determining the perceptions of the farmer s with respect to the present role of the student change agents in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be (in terms of educational processes based on the principles of: knowledge, participation, and in terpersonal characteristics); b. determining the perceptions of the student s with respect to the present role of the farmers in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be; 3. To determine the perceptions of the farmer s, students, and faculty with respect to the present role of the WEM (especially in community development) and what they perceive the role should be; 4. To identify consistencies or inconsistencies within and between the groups of respondents (students, farmers, and f aculty) through triangula tion of the data obtained by objectives 2 and 3; and 5. To correlate the perceptions of the WEM with the level of adoption of CIAS. 6. The results provide feedback to EART H University regarding the WEM and information to other entities involved in extension efforts who are seeking to improve their extension educational progr ams and services to their clientele. Methodology This study specifically focused on the part icipants’ perceptions of the WEM as a means for evaluation of the module. There we re three basic data collection procedures employed to achieve the objectives. The fi rst method was a census survey, given to faculty and students, using a quantitative ques tionnaire The second method utilized the

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142 same questionnaire as a structured interview guide for interviews with farmers. Focus groups, among students and farmers, were utilized as the third data collection procedure. Findings obtained via both th e collateral conversations du ring individual farmer interviews and focus groups conducted with students and farmers represents common themes mentioned fre quently by the farmers and students that provide insight in interpreting the quantitative results obta ined via the questionnaire. Objective One—General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the Use of Components of an Integrated Agricult ural System by Participant Farmers A total of 31 farmers from the ru ral, surrounding comm unities of EARTH University participated in the 2004 WEM a nd received student change agents on their farms. In an effort to achieve sustai nable agriculture, EARTH University offered agricultural alternatives that when put to use concomitantly, form an integrated agricultural system, or IAS. Students enroll ed in the WEM and supporting faculty work with the local, limited-resource farmers in the process of adopting and implementing these system components. Some of the com ponents are innovations and technologies that are also being promoted by local non-governme ntal organizations, churches, associations, or other entities in the area. It might be useful to know wh ich other entities are involved in promoting different innovations and tec hnologies in order to compare strategies, results, or embark in collaborative efforts in working with the farmers. A detailed description of an IAS and components for one defined for this study is contained in chapter two of this thesis. There are various components of an IAS for which the most salient adoption was behavior was reported. Farmers provided many reasons why they chose to adopt, reject, or discontinue the use of them. Of the compone nts of an IAS, the hi ghest percentages of

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143 farmers implemented the following: forest species (93.5%), medici nal plants (77.4%), the biodigester (35.5%), traditional compost (35.5%), fish lagoons, and agro-ecotourism preparations (35.5%). The sources of information from which th e farmers reported receiving information about forest species were EARTH students (32.7%), EA RTH faculty (28.8%), and traditional knowledge (19.2%), which refers to knowledge of the local (or indigenous) people that has existed and / or developed over time and has been spread mostly through word of mouth or by observing practices of family members or members of the community. When farmers were asked what pur pose the trees served on their farms, their knowledge regarding the use of forest spec ies for protection of flora and fauna and augmenting organic matter in the soil was cons iderable. The farmers that lived nearest the rivers also emphasized the importance of re forestation on the health of the river. The farmers attributed this know ledge to their interactions with EARTH University, and especially with the students through the WEM. Having trees around the houses for aesthetics and as a source of wood for constr uction purposes were al so the main reasons for farmers to have trees. Of the farmers with trees, 72.4% planted them, with the most common types being: Cedro, Laurel, Chanco Bl anco, Almendro, and Pilon. It is also interesting to note that one farmer plante d trees as an alternative, offered by the government, to paying a fine for illegally logging. Farmers reported that they received most of their information about medicinal plants from EARTH students (26.7%) and through traditional knowledge (20.0%). Farmers used medicinal plants as homeopathic remedies of illnesses such as headaches, and nausea, and to make soaps and shampoos. As part of agro-ecotourism preparations,

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144 farmers also started processing medicinal pl ants to sell for the aforementioned purposes to visitors. While medicinal plants were frequently used among the farmers, the most common reasons for not having them were that the farmer had no interest in them or was unsure how to use them. Since the students were the most common source of information regarding medicinal plants, this discrepanc y might indicate that there is room for improvement of the students’ efforts to educate farmers about this component. The biodigester was the only componen t for which the farmers named EARTH faculty (41.4%) as the main source of inform ation. This was because the farmers were only comfortable making such an investment when the innovation was not only proposed by the students, but was also endorsed by the faculty. In addition, EARTH faculty usually directed the installation process on the farm. EARTH faculty and students recommended keeping the biodigester under cove r to prevent damage to the apparatus, and 81.8% of farmers with a biodigester followed this recommendation. However, EARTH faculty and students were also promoting the biodigeste r not just as a sustainable technology, but as a system. An important part of the biodigester syst em was a series of lagoons for the resultant effluent. Only 18.2% of the farmers with biodigesters used lagoons. They reported that they did not see the value in a lagoon system and preferred to allow the effluent to flow directly onto the land. It is evident that more effective educational messages about the value of the entire IAS is warranted. Particularly, a stronger effort needs to be made in to i nvolve the farmers in the development of the Integrated Agricultural Systems so that they truly address the needs of the farmers and are created and promoted in a way that emphasizes the value to the farmers. Educational

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145 messages are also important to ensure that the adoption of envir onmental innovations is promoted in a holistic manner (Vanclay, 1994). The most common reasons why farmers did not implement the biodigester were the cost, that they did not have enough waste to r un the biodigester, and that they simply had not gotten around to it yet. One farmer also mentioned that the corral where the manure was collected was too far from the kitchen. Mooney’s findings that value-oriented action often times supplants priority given to economic factors over all other goals and values in life, referred to as “formal rationale,” (Mooney, 1998 cited in Vanclay, 1994) were substantiated by the following in stance regarding a farmer’s re jection of the biodigester. As explained earlier in this thesis, the biodigester produces methane gas, or biogas, with which to cook. One farmer had the means, re sources, and faith in the biodigester system, but his wife refused to cook with biogas out of personal preference. Therefore, they did not adopt the system. The only reason that farmers stopped using the biodigester was in a couple of instances where it did not function correctl y. The researcher spoke with farmers who mentioned that there was a tear in the polye thylene tubing, but neither had they received help from anyone at EARTH in repairing it, nor had the farmers asked for assistance from EARTH. Hagmann (1996) identifies dialogu e with farmers as one of three major elements to improve the development a nd spreading of innovations. Although the farmers were constantly engagi ng in dialogue with the student change agent, steps should be taken to examine the quality of these conversations. For ex ample, are the real needs of the farmer being identified through discussions? In instances cited in Chapter 4 of this thesis, farmers disclosed issues and problems to the researcher with whom they interacted

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146 on one occasion that they never mentioned to the student change agents. In addition to Hagmann’s comments on the development and di ffusion of innovations, the sustainability of these innovations needs to be addressed. This implies that EARTH should increase the emphasis on the maintenance of technologies al ready implemented and continue to seek out farmer feedback periodi cally after the innovation has already been adopted. Traditional compost was also promoted mo st heavily by EARTH students, and then faculty as compared to other sources. Mo st of the farmers th at reported not using traditional compost named that it did not fit into their farm system, or that it was time consuming as the reasons why they did not a dopt it. Through farmer interviews, it also became evident that the farmers did not re alize that they could compost with crop residues, kitchen waste, or other organic outputs generate d from farm activities, other than animal manure. Farmers also reporte d discontinuing composti ng when the students left, indicating that rather than the value of the practice itself, pe rhaps the students were the motivating factor for them to adopt it. Of the sources named for all of the compone nts of an IAS, the sources listed most frequently that might present the greatest opportunity for coopera tion and collaboration with EARTH were: INA, CEDECO, and JAPD EVA. The following innovations received a low reported level of adoption among the fa rmers. EARTH students and faculty were also named as the main sources from which the farmers received information regarding these same components of an IAS: nutri tional blocks, decontamination lagoons, and effective microorganisms. Therefore, EARTH University might be in a prime position to make a significant impact regarding the a doption of these particular components.

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147 When farmers mentioned that the innovati on did not fit into the system, they concluded this because they either did not see the benefit of the innovation or because they lacked the resources to use it. This was the most commonly mentioned reason why farmers did not implement an IAS component. It can be inferred that the farmers did not perceive the innovation as meeting a real nee d. It may be worth exploring whether the innovation, in fact, does not solve their problems or address thei r needs, or if the benefits of the innovation are just not being communicated properly to the farmer. Ensuring that a two-way exchange of knowledge, information, and ideas is occurri ng would help better understand the issue. Interestingly, the intens ity of labor did not seem to be a limiting factor in adopting innovations; however, the time an innovation was perceived to consume was. Farmers associated high cost with the biodigeste r, the fish lagoons (especially the cost of dredging and buying fi sh food concentrate), and decontamination lagoons (cost of dredging). Of the farmers not involved in agro-ecotourism preparations, the main reasons were lack of interest in turning their farms into places for tourists and the concern that such activitie s would disrupt the regular farm activities. This finding provides further support for Vanclay’s (1994) emphasis on value-oriented action; the farmers placed more value on preserving their farms as a “home” rather than transforming them into tourist attrac tions intending to earn a profit. Of the components, the hi ghest rate of discontinuance corresponded to worm compost (9 instances). Most farmers reporte d that the worms succumbed to death either by ants or birds. In this case, there s eems to be an inherent problem with the characteristic of the technology itself. Trad itional compost, effective microorganisms, fish lagoons, nutritional blocks, and the biodigester also ha d one or two instances of

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148 discontinuance. It is important to note that the farmers did not hesi tate to mention that the students were often their main motivati on for implementing an innovation. This is evident in the frequent response that the r eason they stopped using a particular practice was because the student(s) left. Another unant icipated result was that many farmers were prevented from implementing components of an IAS, such as lagoons, and compost because of the frequent flooding of the nearby rivers. Appendix B depicts the adoption trends of each CIAS by community in order to present an overall picture according to which th e most efficient efforts may be made. For example, adoption of agro-eco tourism preparations were mu ch more prevalent in La Argentina than for the other communities. Through the WEM and through continuing adult education in La Argentina, PCD had a specific initiative to increase agroecotourism activities in that community. This may be perceived as a positive outcome of their efforts. Interviews and focus groups did reveal, however, that income-generating abilities of these preparations (building cabins, nature trails, crafts, and others) were little to none. In fact, all of the farmers expressed that they invested more money in them than they had received. They did consider it an “investment” however a nd were patient about the tourism sector growing in the area. C onsidering that presently, the farmers most active in preparing for tourists only receive visitors 2-3 times per year, there are doubts that this is an appropriate initiative for this region. The farmers also complained that the infrastructure and road system is not ad equate for tourists. Meanwhile, the agroecotourism initiative has brought excitement to the farmers and has motivated them to diversify their farms and learn more skills, such as making handcrafts and using computers to create labels for their processe d products. In La Argentina, the farmers

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149 have started an agro-ecotourism association as well. While the economic benefits do not yet look favorable, the social benefits, benefits in terms of life quality and the future return on investment of these activities are yet to be determined. Statistical tests were run to determine if a relationship exists between the adoption of components of an IAS and the following household characteristics: number of people in the household, the gender of the farmer, the size of the farm (in terms of hectares), whether or not the household was receiving ou tside income, and in which community the farmer lived. Chi squared values only reveal ed that a relationship exists between farmers who reside in the La Argentina and thei r adoption behavior of agro-ecotourism preparations. There was no other statisti cally significant evidence suggesting a relationship between the other variables. Predominantly, EARTH University students were the most frequently mentioned source of information regarding the CIAS, followed very closely by EARTH faculty. While EARTH is not the only entity invol ved in nonformal education and extension efforts, farmers freely expressed that their level of satisfaction w ith EARTH was superior to that of the other entities. This was due to their constant communication with the students and the role the students played as a link between the farmers and the university experts, and because the faculty has physica lly been out to the farmers’ properties and was familiar with them. This section has pr ovided the most noteworthy issues pertaining to the different components of an IAS and has presented opportuni ties where, if EARTH chose to focus efforts, would be apt to make the most impact. The study revealed some overall aspects that influenced farmers’ decisions regarding the components of an IAS, overall Most of the com ponents addressed the

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150 issue of waste management and utilizing waste as an input for the farm system. If the farmers did not have sufficient animals, or anim als that were confined in order to collect manure, this was often times the limiting factor to adoption. Another factor that influenced the farmers’ decisions to adopt wa s priority. If the farmers had incorporated the component in their “Mapa Futuro” or fu ture map, that they developed with the students and which served as a blueprint for farm modifications, they perceived it as a priority. If not, the farmers felt as though th ey had to abide by the plan and gave other innovations lower priority. For “lower risk” technologies, such as effective microorganisms, and worm compost, the students seemed to provide the greatest motivation to the farmers to adopt. The farmers even admitted that if the student s left, so would their motivation to try new things and diversify their farms In some cases, the farmers discontinued use of the innovations when the students left. This will be discussed in later sections, but begs the question whether the farmers r eally perceived the value in the innovation itself, or why exactly the farmers felt compelled to adopt an innovation only when the students were around. In regard to “higher risk” innovati ons, such as the biodigester or lagoons, farmers seemed to insist on the endorsement of the faculty before adopting. Therefore, this study substantiated the claim that risk av ersion plays an important role in slowing the adoption of innovation and that farmers assess risk according to th e faith they place in the [change agents’] competence (FFTC, 1985). Innovators and the “Human Factor” Lastly, some farmers appeared to be excep tionally progressive and appeared to give validity to Rogers’ (2003) “innova tor” adopter category and what Bidegaray refers to as the “human factor” (Personal communications, November 14, 2004). Still, at least in one

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151 case, a farmer that seems to fit in the “innovator” category had substantially more resources than the other farmers involved in th e WEM. It would be in teresting to find out the history of the farmer to determine wh ich phenomenon occurred first; Did the farmer’s innovative personality lead him to adopt mo re innovations which allowed the farm to prosper and grow, resulting in more resources …or did he first have more resources than others that allowed him to manage failu res without crisis and implement more innovations? Perhaps, the la tter is true and supports Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew’s claim (1989) that the reason why farmers adopt technologies is because they have more resources rather than because they have a particul ar type of character. If this is the case, attention should be paid that the rich are not becoming richer while the poor are becoming relatively poorer. Socioeconomic Gap As Goss observed (1979, cited in Stephe nson, 2003) in Latin America, the unequal spreading of innovations actually lead to a wider socioeconomic gap among the people. This concept also refers to the characteristic s of the farmers that participated in the WEM as compared to the characteristics of th e farmers in the communities that did not participate. This is an area that should be addressed and may be appropriate for further research. Data, discussed farther ahead in the chapter, reveal that the WEM is not reaching or targeting the most needy farmer s of the community to participate in the module because their reluctance to experiment with new ideas as a means to avert risk would prevent them from providing a valuable experience for the students. If farmers were paid a stipend in exchange for provi ding a learning environment for the students (rather than a free handout) perhaps the poorer farmers would have the means to

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152 participate and the opportunity to engage in joint inquiry, explorat ion, and learning with the student change agent. Objective Two-General Conclu sions and Recommendations Regarding the Perceptions of the Participants in Relation to Their Roles and the Roles of Other Participants and Objective Four-Triangulation to identify Consistencies or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents Conclusions and recommendations for these two objectives are reported together to clearly triangulate between and within gr oups and to avoid redundancy. The farmers were asked to indicate their level of agreem ent that each of the 39 statements “should be” the role of the student change agents of th e WEM (Table 4.15). Then the farmers were asked what “was” the actual role of th e students during 2004 ac cording to their experience The students were surveyed indicated thei r level of agreement that each of the 39 statements “should be” their role as ch ange agents in th e WEM by circling the appropriate choice (yes, maybe, no) (Table 4.17). Then they were asked to indicate their level of agreement that their actual roles reflected the potential roles by circling the appropriate choice (a lot, a little, and none). Major Themes and Triangulation of Student and Farmer Responses: The Role of the Student The majority of the students and farmers agreed that the stud ents should: provide current, up-to-date information; help in th e development of probl em-solving strategies; work well with the farmer to develop and impl ement new ideas; take an interest in the farmers’ opinions, ideas, and feelings; and th ink of solutions together with the farmer when there are problems. Farmers felt that the role of the students should not be to identify the problems, needs and hopes of the community. This findi ng was consistent with a relatively high

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153 percentage of farmers that t hought that the students did not do this. A discrepancy exists however, because while 90.3% of the farm ers think that students should conduct experiments with the farmers, only 51.5% of fa rmers said that the students actually did conduct experiments with them. Farmers repor ted that they feared the economic risks associated with failure and recommended th at experimentation a nd innovations had the direct endorsement by the faculty, which s ubstantiates findings by FFTC (1985) that a change agent’s credibility is a major factor in a farmer’s assessment of the level of risk associated with adoption of a technology or pr actice. Farmers also mentioned that if EARTH provided them with more of the mate rials needed to experiment, they would do so more often. Another minor difference occurred because while 100.0% of the farmers thought the students should be good communicators, 87.1 % of the farmers said that the students actually were good communicators. Overall, wh at the farmers thought the role of the students should be, and what it actually was during the 2004 WEC were consistent. Farmers were most undecided about whether or not students should be a hard worker; should possess technical knowledge; should learn from farmers; should be a model of inspiration for the farmers; and should help farmers who are the most in need of the community. Farmers were also undecided wh ether or not students actually did help farmers most in need in the community. Elaboration regarding the rationale of the farmers behind these perceptions is included in the discussion later in this chapter regarding findings from farmer focus groups. Although the farmers thought it was the role of the students to conduct experiments with them (90.3%), only 71.6% of students fe lt it was their role. While only 51.5% of

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154 farmers thought that students actually did conduct experiments with them, even fewer students reported that they conducted experi ments with farmers (23.8%). Farmers and students thought that students should stimul ate farmers to conduct their own experiments (90.3% and 82.7%, respectively) but a considerably highe r percentage of farmers reported that the students actually did stimul ate them to conduct their own experiments than the students reported (83.9 % and 32.1% respectively). Perhaps the students were unaware of the magnitude of the impact they had on the farmers or maybe students that a farmer received one trimester lead them to experiment at a later point in time, unbeknownst to the students. Like the farmers, students were not sure if it should be their role to help the farmers most in need of the community, and only 13.8% of the students felt that they actually did do this. Only 18.8% of the students felt that they were committed to improving the quality of life of the farmers, but 74.2% of the farmers felt that the students were. Only 63.0% of the st udents thought it was even their role to be committed to improving the farmers’ quality of life, while a significantly higher, 87.1% of farmers thought this should be the role of the students. It was very important to the farmers th at students possess good connections to specialists and information. In fact, all of the farmers indi cated this. On the other hand, only 67.9% of the students thought it was thei r responsibility to have good connections, and only 31.3% of the students actually though t they possessed such connections. A low percentage of students (33.8%) felt that they helped the farmers make a practice change, but a much higher 83.9% of farmers felt that the students helped them make a practice change. Accordingly, 93.5% of the farmers thought it was the student’s role to help them

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155 do this, while only 69.1% of the students thoug ht it was their respons ibility to help the farmers make a practice change. Major Themes and Triangulation of Student and Farmer Responses: The Role of the Farmer Farmers only responded with a “no” to one of the items referring to their role in the WEM (6.5%). This item stated that it s hould be their role to identify the problems, hopes, and needs of their community and the rest of the farmers. This sounds deceiving, however, because still, 93.5% of the farmers (all of the rema ining) thought that it should be their role. Still, it suppor ts the qualitative findings that the farmers were not united in their views regarding whether or not the co mmunity should work collectively or each farm individually. Fewer farmers, 77.4% though t that they actually did this, and even much fewer students (29.5%) thought the farm ers identified the problems, needs, and hopes of their community. Students weren’t su re whether this should be a role of the farmers or not (22.8%). Only 68.4% of student s and 77.4% of farmers reported that they thought the farmers should conduct experime nts with the students, but many more farmers thought that they act ually conducted experiments w ith the students (51.6), than the students perceived (20.5%). This is concurrent with the results of the previous section and the discussion regarding farmer experimentation applies here as well. The farmers emphasized the importan ce of good communication throughout the interviews. Farmers repeatedly mentioned th at trust was the foundation and prerequisite of communication, and substantiated Mwangi ’s (1998) findings that interpersonal characteristics are key to the succ ess of educational processes. It is important for participants of the WEM to have a mutual understanding of each of their roles so that the module does not re sult in disappointments, frustration, or unmet

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156 expectations. Overall, the pe rceptions of the farmers and students coincided rather well, but instances where they did not should be looked into and the ro les should be better defined and understood through the input of each of the participant groups. Insights Gained From Farmer Focus Groups When farmers were asked what they felt was (were) the role(s) of the students, two themes emerged. It was evident that the farmer s perceived the students’ role to be to (1) give, as well as (2) receive. The concept of an exchange is constant throughout their responses. Farmers were aware that both th eoretical and practical knowledge were most effective when used as a dyad and felt that th e students contributed greatly to their base of theoretical knowledge. Farmers did recognize that students were not experts. The farmers were generally satisfied with the level of technical k nowledge the students possessed because their expectations were not very high. Results from this research still supported Mwangi’s findings (1998) that good technical knowledge is a necessary attribute of a change agent, however, because farmers percei ved the students as an in direct source of technical knowledge. To clarify, farmers perceived the students as th eir point of access to the experts, and other knowledgeable entities and sources of information through EARTH. It was emphasized repeatedly that the farmers pr eferred that students bring new ideas and information rather than manual labor. Howe ver, when asked to free-list the hopes and expectations the farmers ha d of their students, the female farmers listed such things as, “a hard worker,” “physically able,” “a stude nt that is physically big and can do double the work of one man,” and “the savior.” The second dominant theme that emerged wa s that the students were also supposed to receive something from this experience. The farmers felt that they were supposed to

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157 be giving the students a genuine perspective of the real life of the farmer… “our food, our values, our customs…” Farmers stated that the students truly received an accurate perspective of the farmers’ way of life. Objective Three—General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the Perceptions of the Participants in Relation to the Role of the Work Experience Module (WEM) and Objective Four-Tri angulation to identify Consis tencies or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents Triangulation of Faculty, Farmer, and St udent Responses: The Role of the WEM All three groups of participants were surveyed regarding the role of the WEM itself. The conclusions and recommendati ons for these two objectives are reported together to clearly triangulate data be tween and among groups and to avoid redundancy. The first two participant groups (farmers a nd students) were described above and the third group consisted of the faculty. A tota l of 9 faculty members were surveyed. None of the three participant groups thought it should be or actually was the role of the WEM to only support projects that farm ers worked on individually rather than collectively. In othe r words, no groups were opposed to projects being done collectively. Both faculty and students did not think the WEM complimented the Ministry of Agriculture (48.4% and 42.3%, resp ectively). Farmers, faculty, and students also did not perceive the WEM to be a component of an in tegrated extension system made up of other entities involved in extension efforts working in th e humid tropic region (54.8%, 54.8% and 29.5%, respectively). A modest 55.6% of the students and 63.0% of the farmers thought that the WEM should be a component of an integrat ed extension system, while all of the faculty members thought this definite ly should be a role of the WEM. Faculty and farmers were in agreement again, that th e WEM should improve the quality of life of the communities (100.0% and 90.3%, respective ly) but the students reported less support

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158 for this role (76.3%). Concurrently, onl y 42.3% of the students felt that the WEM actually did improve the quality of life of the farmers in the communities, while the farmers and faculty had a slightly mo re favorable perception (64.5% and 66.7%, respectively). Only 33.3% of the students and 55.6% of the faculty thought the WEM informed farmers about global events, but 74.2% of farmers felt that it did. All of the farmers thought this should be the role of the WEM, while fewer students and faculty agreed (81.3% and 77.8%, respectively). Of the 16 items included in the questionna ire regarding the WEM, some of them received a variety of different responses fr om within the facult y group. Questionnaires administered to faculty were coded in orde r to classify responses according to program chairs, supporting PCD staff, and supervisi ng faculty members. This was done because the faculty directed the modul e, and it is crucial that th ey share the same mission and goals for it. The following section descri bes both consistencies and inconsistencies within the faculty. The two program chairs were in agreem ent on most of the items. They both indicated that the module should not and did not do the following: complement the extension services of the Ministry of Agri culture (MAG), and prom ote national priorities in agriculture. The support staff (two indivi duals) indicated that the WEM should indeed complement the extension services of MAG but currently, was not. Neither of the chairs nor the support staff thought the WEM should on ly support individual farmer projects in lieu of group projects, and thr ee of the four individuals indi cated that the module did not do this while one person indicated that “ma ybe” it did. One program chair indicated that the WEM should help the university identify areas where it should focus its research but

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159 indicated that presently, he did not feel this was happening. Th e other chair responded “maybe” on both questions. The two chairs we re divided on one issue: one felt that the WEM should support projects that responded more to the urgent problems and needs of the community, and that the WEM actually did that. The other chair felt that that should not be a role of the WEM, and that in hi s opinion, it was not. While the support staff both felt that the WEM should support projects that responded more to the urgent issues of the community, they were divided between “yes” and “maybe” that the WEM actually did. The program chairs and the support staff a ll believed that the WEM should help the farmers work collectively, but half of each group were split between “yes” or “maybe” that this was occurring. Hagmann (1996) na med the strengthening of self-organizational capacities of rural comm unities as a major element to improve the development and adoption of innovations. It was evident that pa rticularly in the comm unity, La Argentina, PCD was making group formation efforts. This study revealed that the farmers perceived strong social barriers and resist ance to working collectively, but the majority expressed a desire to overcome these obstacles to work t ogether effectively. Further research should be conducted in this area, particularly to understand the farmers’ reasoning behind both their perceived negatives and positives a ssociated with working collectively. Of the supervising professors, the ma jority felt undecided whether the WEM should or did help the groups of the community in the greatest need. While the majority of the professors felt that the WEM should not compliment the exte nsion services of MAG, the majority also felt that it was curren tly doing so. All of the professors viewed the WEM as a way to identify aspects where the university should focus research, but

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160 only one individual thought this was occurring. In contrast to the views of the program chairs, the majority of the professors felt that the module should promote national agriculture priorities. Concurrent with th e chairs, though, they felt that it currently did not. All of the professors thought that the WEM should serve as a point of communication between research and the farmer but only two of the five felt that this was accomplished; two thought the module was not serving this role, and one individual was unsure. Like the rest of the facult y, the majority of the professors felt that the module should not and did not support individual farmer projects in lieu of group projects. Like one of the program chairs and the support st aff, the professors thought the WEM should support projects more that responded to th e urgent needs of the communities. The majority of the professors thought the m odule was currently doing that. All of the professors, chairs, and staff felt that the module should help the farmers work collectively, and the majority of professors thought that the module was currently achieving that. Unlike the students and faculty, the farmer s completed the questionnaires in the form of a survey, allowing them the opportunity elaborate on their responses. Farmers were divided over the scope of audience the course is supposed to benefit. Namely, should the students help with community develo pment, or stick mostly with the farm to which they are assigned? Another point the fa rmers raised was that if the students were improving households and farms, they were pr obably indirectly helping the community. This statement represents the sentiment of about half of the farmers, “It is not the responsibility of the students to worry about the needs of the whole community and their

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161 quality of life because it is too difficult an expectation of students who are only on the farms one day during the week.” Farmers also mentioned that the progra m should only focus on individual farmers because trying to get the farmers to work toge ther is a “waste of time.” Farmers reported the “distrust and corruption” among farmers in the community, and said that they were resistant to working together, illustrated by the following quote, “I don’t want to be involved with the problems of the commun ity as a whole because they don’t know anything.” Other farmers felt that “Because nobody lives in isolation, a community problem is a problem for everyone to be concerned with. It is important that students identify problems outside the immediate farm as well.” Farmers encouraged efforts to help the farmers to unify, but recognized that not everyone will work together, so the module should also work with individuals. While the majority of farmers said that although they would like the program to help farmers to work together, they weren’t e ffective at doing so. In La Lucha especially, farmers noted that the students and faculty we re more concerned with the needs of the community and helping farmers to work in groups this year. When asked if the module should send stude nts to work with farmers who were the most in need of the community, the majority said no. The reasons for this were that farmers were aware that the responsibility of choosing the farms was not entirely EARTH’s. The farms had to agree to particip ate. Also, farmers re cognized that if the farmer had no resources, they would be le ss likely to adopt innovations or experiment. One farmer stated, “The cour se can’t always decide who it is going to help because it

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162 depends on which farmers want to participate. The course will help the most, the farmers who take the information and follow through with it.” As stated previ ously, past research strongly indicates that not including the farm ers most in need will contribute to the widening of the socio-economic gap that alrea dy exists. In additi on to recommendations already mentioned on how to include this popu lation, further attention must be paid to this issue. If it cannot be directly addre ssed through the farmers’ participation in the WEM, perhaps, EARTH can specifically target them for involvement in other extension education programs. Insights Gained from Farmer Focus Groups The farmers were asked, “If you could a nonymously give recommendations to the people in charge of the WEM, what would they be?” The strongest theme that can be noted from the farmers’ recommendations wa s their desire that professors be more involved with the program and the students. There were two main reasons why the farmers advocated more professor involvement First, the farmers believed that they could access the faculty’s e xpertise and rich network of specialists. The farmers emphasized the importance of the vi sits that professors make to the farms first in terms of their expertise, and then referred to thei r value as contacts for other sources of knowledge. The following quote illustrates the fa rmers’ reasoning regarding the value of professors as access points, “There should be more integration between the professors that visit the farm and those at the university because the ones who visit don’t have all the knowledge but can coordinate with another pr ofessor who has knowledge in a particular area.” The second reason for having more facu lty involvement is that the farmers would perceive implementing new ideas as less risky if the professors were available to validate the students’ suggestions.

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163 Another strong theme that emerged from th e focus groups was the interest of the farmers in having much more of a feedback and monitoring role rega rding the students. They would like the opportunity to report on their progress, a nd feel that “The professor or someone from the university should ask how the farmers feel with the student in case the farmer or student is unhappy.” Similarly, farmers suggested that the professors do a previous evaluation of the farms and student s in order to match them up appropriately. The farmers mentioned repeatedly, that when studies, tests, and impact assessments are done, the results are never given or shown to the farmer s. They claimed that they never get the opportunity to see the reports done of their farms, such as soil and water analyses. The following quote adequately reflec ts this sentiment, “We would like to have a copy of the final report, about the farm and the progress within the 15 week course, that the students hand in to their professor to see if it reflects the reality of what actually occurred during the months of the course.” Another farmer mentioned that she has asked to see the results of water analyses done on her farm, but to no avail. Other suggestions include: “The meetings shouldn’t be so early…should begin at 4 in the afternoon instead of 2 pm”, and, “The program should continue…it’s very useful in terms of exchanging experiences where information is given and received.” Insights Gained from Student Focus Groups In contrast to other responses, the student s were united in their recommendations. The students mentioned that they were consta ntly trying to improve their credibility as consultants with the farmers. They felt strongl y that the administrati on could assist them by “presenting the students as competent, cap able, bright professi onals instead of like kids coming to work on the farm.” Current ly, they feel like “PDC doesn’t seem to

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164 recognize the technical capacity of the student s, what we are capable of doing and they underestimate our skills and abilities.” Students expressed a lack of direction and not knowing quite what to do once they arrived on the farm. In order to prevent this students made a few suggestions including that the administration should be tter explain what their functi on is on the farm. They feel that “the students should have a specific re sponsibility on the farm; have one thing to be in charge of instead of random areas; ha ve a FOCUS area” and that perhaps, “PDC should first go out and identify necessities on the farm and then put the student(s) in charge of this specific area of need to solve problems or make improvements.” Students also mentioned problems with having the same households participate over the years. They feel that “with the farmers that have had students for 10 years, anything that can be done on their farm, already has been done.” They also suggest that PDC should make sure that the farms they do se lect are “recep tive to ideas and interested in making and expect to make changes.” Th e students expressed their frustration that farmers were not motivated to spend time on th eir “joint projects” but preferred to work on regular farm activities and “chores.” If the innovations, referred to by the students as their projects were in fact meeting a real need of the farmer, why would the students have such a difficult time vying for time for the farm er to devote to the projects instead of on other farm activities? Again, this refers to the quality of the dialogue between the farmer and student. Mayoux (2001) identif ies the exchange of inform ation and the collaboration between the farmer and change agent as imperative to adapting an innovation to the contexts and needs of the farmer. If this is not done, the innovation will not have value to

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165 the farmer and will either be rejected or cause undesirable consequences (Chambers, 1997). The students recommended conducting fewer, but better planned workshops in the community, that address the specific needs of the community. The students also suggest that they stop having the farmers present thei r “Plan of Work” and “Mapa Futuros” at the beginning and end of the course each trimester. They feel that it is a loss of time for the farmers because it is too frequent. Objective Four-Significant Differences w ithin Groups of Respondents Between Their Perceptions of What Each Role Shoul d Be and What It Actually Was and Recommendations for Addressi ng Opportunities for Improvement Reasons for dissatisfaction and opport unities for better communication among participants can be revealed by identifying differences between what respondents think should be role of participants and the WEM itself, and what th ey perceive that those roles actually were during 2004. Pair ed t-tests were run for each should be actually was pair in order to identify in consistencies. Participant Responses Regard ing the Role of the WEM Faculty data indicated that of all th e potential roles, the most significant discrepancies existed between the following ro les: to help farmers make behavior and practice changes; to improve the quality of life of the community, and to serve as a component of an integrated extension syst em consisting of other entities involved in extension efforts in the humid tropic region. In all cases, higher scor es were reported for the should be response, indicating that all of the aforementioned areas present opportunities for improvement. Farmer data indicated that of all th e potential roles, the most significant discrepancies existed between the following ro les: to serve as a point of educational

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166 exchange between farmers, students, and prof essors; to improve the quality of life of the community; and to incorporate national agricult ure priorities. In al l cases, higher scores were reported for the should be response. Steps should be ta ken to better incorporate these priorities of the farmers into the planning of future WEMs. Student data indicated th at all of the potential roles showed a significant discrepancy between what the students thought the role should be and what it actually was. For all three groups of respondents, a difference between the response pair with a mean difference of .60 or more was found for the following roles: to inform and teach farmers about global events (ex. NAFTA or CAFT A) that affect agriculture markets; to identify aspects where the university should fo cus its research; to use students as a link between technology, knowledge, and services of ot her institutions that work in the humid tropic region and farmers. Since all three groups feel that the m odule has not functioned to its potential regarding these areas, effo rts for improvement should be focused here. Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Farmer in the WEM Farmer data indicated that four of th e potential roles had a significant mean difference but only a mean difference of .60 or more was reported for the role: to conduct experiments with the student. Student data i ndicated that each response pair demonstrated a significant mean difference with only the following three roles having a mean difference lower than .60: to value traditional knowledge; to value and respect opinions and ideas different than one’s own; and to be a model of inspirati on and education for the students. It is evident that both the students and farmers expressed a desire to conduct more experiments, so particular attention s hould be paid to this issue and the reasons given by both groups that the farmers are prevented from engaging in more experiments. It has already been found that risk aversion is a key barrier to experimentation by the

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167 farmers and previous discussion in the chapter offers suggestions for ameliorating risk. A stronger effort also needs to be made to pr ovide more direction and a systematic way to determine what experiments would reveal th e most needed information on each farm. Innovations should also have some type of endorsement by the faculty because the students don’t carry enough cred ibility with the farmers. Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Student in the WEM Student data showed that 27 of the 28 ite ms were found to be significant at the .05 level by the paired response t-test. Mean differences of at least .60 between what the students felt their role should be and what it actually was were reported for the following roles: to help those of the community most in need; to conduct experiments with the farmers; to stimulate the farmers to conduct their own experiments; to teach the farmer new skills; to be committed to improving the quality of life of the community; and to be committed to the region’s ecosystem. On the other hand, farmer data only showed four of 39 items to be significant at the .05 level, and none of the mean differences were .60 or higher. Interestingly, students being a “h ard worker” received a -.23, indicating that farmers perceived the students to be harder workers than the farmers actually expected. It should be noted that through both quantitative and qualitati ve results, the rapport that existed between the student change agents and the farmers was excellent. Farmers rated students exceptionally high on questions of trust, honesty, sincerity, respect, and empathy. According to Mwangi (1997) good ra pport between the farm er and the change agent is necessary to carr y out participatory programs.

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168 Objective Five-General Conclusions Rega rding an Association between Farmers’ Perceptions of the Student Change Agent and the their Level of Adoption of CIAS In order to investigat e the possibility that the farmer s’ perceptions of the student change agent affects the farmers’ decisions to utilize components of an IAS, the researcher conducted quantitati ve statistical test s. The researcher conducted a crosstabs analysis of questions regarding the farmers’ pe rceptions of the roles of the student change agents with questions pertaining to farm er adoption components of an integrated agricultural system. Chi squared values were determined for each set of variables. No statistical significant values were deri ved, providing no evidence to support an association between the variables. There are a number of po ssible reasons why no asso ciation was found to be significant. First, an association might not have been revealed because of the small number of farmers involved in the study. If a sample were taken from the population and parametric statistics were conducted, associ ations may have emerged. Secondly, due to the matter of consistency for triangulation, the response scales were limited. A 3 pt. scale does not allow for much variability and may have prevente d some trends from emerging. An association between the farmers’ percep tions of the students and their level of adoption of CIAS may still exist but may be unable to be captured through the particular design of this study for a few reasons. The instrument used to gather information regarding farmer adoption practices did not collect data on the time frame when the farmer adopted each of the technologies. Th erefore, the farmers’ adoption behavior can not simply be compared to the farmers’ perceptions of the students during 2004. The farmer may have adopted or rejected an innovation in 2000, for example, because of the influence of the students that worked on his or her farm that year. The farmer may have

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169 rated those students entirely differently than th e student or students from his or her most recent experience with the WEM in 2004. It cannot be assumed that the students of 2004 are representative of the students the farmer had during the time he or she made the decision to adopt or reject a particular tec hnology. If the farmer made the decision to adopt, reject, or discontinue using an innova tion in 2004, it would be logical to make the comparison, but information on the time of the a doption or rejection was not collected. It was imperative, however to ask the farmers to answer the questions in regard to the students of 2004 in order to assist EARTH in the evaluation of the most recent form of the module. Information on students from pr evious years would have been obsolete and ineffective in guiding modifications of the 2004 WEM. Overall Conclusions and Implications for Extension Extension programs and servic es, especially those carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG), are being criticized and scrutinized due to claims that they are inefficient and fail to meet the needs of the farmers they are intended to serve. Consequently, the Costa Rican government ha s taken an interest in improving their extension services. One stra tegy currently underway is an increased involvement and cooperation between MAG and educational in stitutions. So far, MAG has formed a cooperative agreement with the University of Costa Rica, but has not collaborated with EARTH University, another college in Costa Ri ca. Through what are referred to as the Community Development Program and Work Experience Module, EARTH faculty and students engage in extension efforts with local farmers in the Guacimo area of Costa Rica. Through evaluation of their interaction with farmers, areas where EARTH is particularly effective have b een identified. By identifying th e strengths of their approach in working with farmers, other extension entities can strengthen their own programs by

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170 incorporating procedures and educational princi ples utilized by the students and faculty of EARTH. The overall c onclusions and recommendations for EARTH University may also be appropriately applie d to Extension in general. Although the main purpose of the WEM is to be an educational module to help EARTH students develop their knowledge and sk ills in a real world setting, it has many of the same goals that have hi storically been those of extens ion organizations in terms of the interaction that EARTH students and faculty have with the rural communities near the university. Specifically, a main role of the students and faculty in the WEM is to be agents of change among the resource-limite d farmers. This entails many of the responsibilities that ex tension workers have, such as educ ating farmers, helping them to put technical knowledge to use via the impl ementation of practices that promote the sustainability of the farms, working with the farmers to solve problems and developing their capacities to eval uate and analyze and many others. In an effort to improve and effectively meet the needs of the farmer s, EARTH University conducts an annual evaluation of the WEM. Results of this study will be incorporated into that evaluation and will not only be used to strengthen the eff ectiveness of the module, but also to offer ideas and recommendations to other extension organizations interested in improving their programs. Overall Conclusions and Recomme ndations for EARTH University Specific conclusions and recommendati on for the WEM were included in each section of this chapter but some general th emes emerged that are worth emphasizing. Adoption and Perceptions of an In tegrated Agricultural System (IAS) The farmers in the three communities studied demonstrated a considerable level of environmental consciousness through the im portance they placed on reforestation,

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171 protecting the nearby rivers, increasing organic matter in the soil and using organic production when possible. Based on conversations with the farms, this can be attributed mostly to the education they received from EARTH students and faculty. While most of the farmers knew what an IAS was, a strong majority of them only had a few components of an IAS on their farms. It can be inferred th at a stronger effort needs to be made to involve the farmers in the development of the IASs so that the systems truly address the needs of the farmer s. The farmers’ lack of interest and resistance to implement more than a few com ponents of an IAS suggest that they do not perceive a significant benefit associated with adopting an IAS. If the systems were created and promoted in a matter that empha sized what is of value to the farmer, educational messages promoting more holis tic adoption of environmental innovations might have a greater impact. Of the sources named for all of the components of an IAS, those listed most frequentl y, other than EARTH students an d faculty, that present the greatest opportunity for coopera tion and collaboration with EARTH should this be an interest of the university were: CEDECO, JAPDEVA, and INA. Quality Dialogue One of the strengths of the WEM, noted by the farmers is the frequent and constant contact the farmers feel they have with EA RTH University through the students. Farmers highlighted the fact that an ever-present di alogue with EARTH students exists. However, frequent dialogue does not equal quality dialogue. This point is raised because based on the results of this study, an ar ea found to be very much in need of improvement is the proficiency of the students in assessing the needs of the fa rmers. This conclusion was arrived at for a number of reasons.

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172 First, in instances cited in Chapter Four of this thesis, farmers disclosed issues and problems to the researcher that they never me ntioned to the student change agents. Such needs included basic issues such as havi ng a tear in the poly ethylene tube of the biodigester that needed repa ir and the desire to have a guide book or other source of information about the types and different uses of medicinal plants because a family had the plants but was unsure of their implications. Students also mentioned problems with having the same households participate over the years. They feel that “with the farmers that have had students for 10 years, anything that can be done on their farm, already has been done.” They also suggest that PDC should make sure that the farms they do se lect are “recep tive to ideas and interested in making and expect to make changes.” Th e students expressed their frustration that farmers were not motivated to spend time on th eir “joint projects” but preferred to work on regular farm activities and “chores.” If the innovations, referred to by the students as their projects were in fact meeting a real need of the farmer, why would the students have such a difficult time vying for time for the farm er to devote to the projects instead of on other farm activities? Again, this refers to the quality of the dialogue between the farmer and student. Mayoux (2001) identif ies the exchange of inform ation and the collaboration between the farmer and change agent as imperative to adapting an innovation to the contexts and needs of the farmer. If this is not done, the innovation will not have value to the farmer and will either be rejected or cause undesirable consequences (Chambers, 1997). Process vs. Product In the case of the WEM, the issue of process vs. pr oduct has a double implication. Students at EARTH University have ample opportunity to conduct experiments on the

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173 campus’ expanse of experimental farmland. They are frequently challenged to put their scientific knowledge to the te st through hands-on courses (for which they are especially recognized), group projects, and individual projects they ar e expected to develop and complete in their third and fourth years. Wh at the WEM offers that separates this module from all the other opportunities students have to work on is the unique, rich experience it allows the students to have with the farmers in the real world. Of gr eater priority than the implementation of innovations deemed impressi ve by scientific standards, should be the best utilization of the time that the students ha ve with the farmers to learn how to interact with them, understand their va lues and rationale, assess their needs, and engage in joint problem solving with them. If the quality of interaction between the student and farmer is not enhanced, the very aspect that gives value to the WEM and sets it apart as such a unique and worthwhile opportunity for both the students and farm ers will be lost. Steps should be taken to provide better training in needs-assessment and participatory methods for the students. While some workshops fo r the students may exist on these approaches, they need to be examined with a critical eye and improved to a le vel of effectivenesswhere the students’ main priority is to work with the farmers to identify their problems and then address them. The process through wh ich the students interact with the farmers in the experience is extremely important. On the other hand, because the WEM is intended to be a real-world experience, unlike many academic exercises that emphasize process over product for learning purposes, at the completion of the module, the fa rmer must have an end product. There is debate over this point, even among the faculty involved with the WEM, but requiring that

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174 students present a finished product (except in extreme cases) will address and strengthen other weaknesses of the module. For example students identified not having a focus and not knowing quite what to do on the farm once they arrived as major problem s. Often times, this actually resulted in the student doing manual farm labor by default. As discussed in th e previous section, when the student did have a clear idea of what they wanted to work on, they also often found it impossible to complete th e project with the farmer. In order to address this i ssue, students should not just limit the types of projects they are willing to do to ones involving innovations currently being developed and promoted by EARTH. If they are really committed to addressing the needs of the farmers, students must be flexible and respons ive to them. In fact, student feedback to the faculty regarding farmers’ interests should ac tually be used to guide future university research and development. The projects s hould be viewed as a tool through which students and farmers can engage in a mutually beneficial experience. If for example, after contemplation, a farmer replies that she has always wanted to make a book of pressed flowers, or use pressed flowers to decorate photo albums, the student should not toss that idea aside for a more impressive or el aborate one. This type of project can foster the combination of creativity and science as the farmer decides which flowers to grow and use, in the preparation of the flowers, and the artistic layout on each page. The economic return over time from the continue d sale of these books and albums at local markets or beyond may be even higher than the farmer would receive from a more elaborative innovation. This t ype of activity may better meet the needs of the farmer

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175 because she can work on the albums and sell them year round even in times of low cash flow. Another scenario could be that a farmer is not sure how he can maximize the use of his land and resources. An e nd product that consists of a map of the farm and potential uses for each are would be very valid and usef ul. With this type of scenario and after consideration is given to constraints and resources the farmer might be interested in starting an IAS on his farm. The next st udent may think about conducting an ELP assessment (described in Chapter Two). If the student is aware that he/she mu st generate an end product through their experience in the WEM, he/she would realize that the cooperation and interest of the farmer is imperative. It should be emphasi zed by professors that the way to ensure farmer cooperation is through the farmers’ involvement in every step of the process. The result should be that the farmer looks forwar d to the day the student comes to the farm. The farmer should perceive it as one day cl oser to finishing th eir project and would consider it a lost opportunity to divert the st udents’ time and attention from the project to farm chores. In conclusion, both the pro cess and the product need to be given due attention. Unbiased Selection of Farmers Faculty, students, and farmers were unsur e whether or not the WEM should help the farmers most in need of the community. According to their experiences in the 2004 WEM, only 13.8% of the students felt that they ac tually helped the poorest segment of farmers in the communities. This stands out as a “red flag” that cannot be overlooked. As Goss observed (1979, cited in Stephe nson, 2003) in Latin America, the unequal spreading of innovations actually lead to a wider socioeconomic gap among the people.

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176 Through farmer interviews, this study found that farmers disagreed that the module should send students to work with the poores t farmers in the community. The farmers were aware that: the responsib ility of choosing the farms wa s not entirely EARTH’s and that the farmers had to agree to participate; and that farmers recognized that if the farmer had no resources, they would be less likely to experiment or adopt innovations. One farmer stated, “The course can’t always deci de who it is going to help because it depends on which farmers want to participate. The course will help the most, farmers who take the information and follow through with it.” It must be noted that the farmers from which responses were obtained were not considered the poorest of the communities. It might be speculated that they feared shoul d EARTH focus on the poorest farmers, they may withdraw students from their farms. If farmers were paid a stipend in exchange for providing a learning environment for the students (rather than a free handout) perhaps the poorer farmers would have an interest in part icipating, have the mean s to participate, and the opportunity to engage in joint inquir y, exploration, capacity building, and learning with the student change agents. This would also address the students’ complaints that “with the farmers that have had students for ten years, anything than can be done on their farm, already has been done.” Another instance of selecti on against certain segments of the population occurred because of natural phenomena. A significant number of farmers were unable to consider adopting many of the components of an IAS because the flooding of the nearby river made it impossible. A specific effort to iden tify ways to help this particular group of farmers is warranted.

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177 Further attention must be paid to the i ssues of which farmers are targeted to participate in the WEM and the unbiased distri bution of services to farmers. If these issues cannot be directly a ddressed through the farmers’ participation in the WEM, EARTH should specifically target farmers w ith special needs for involvement in other extension education programs. The Role of the Student In terms of interpersonal characteristic s such as sincerity, trust, honesty, and respect, the students can be c onsidered role models for others in Extension. Farmers viewed the students in a very positive light in this rega rd and did not hesitate to compliment the personal char acter of the students. Th is set the foundation for the remarkable rapport that was evident between them. Often, farmers commented that by the time the students completed the module they were considered family. In many instances, students helped the farmers and th eir children to read and write. Students would read letters for illiterate farmers as well as tutor and assist children with schoolwork. The farmers and students placed much value on the social and cultural benefits they received from one another…especi ally conversations had over coffee. Most farmers never had the opportunity to trav el and experience other cultures and they realized that the students we re a way to bring the culture of other countries to them. Rather than being perceived by the farmers as experts, farmers viewed the students as access points to information and specialists (facu lty). Time and again, farmers praised the students’ timeliness and thoroughness in re trieving information the farmers requested. Since most of the farmers had no formal education, they were appreciative of the students and took advantage of them to gain know ledge. The farmers often discussed the importance of combining theore tical and practical knowledge.

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178 Farmers seemed to assess credibility of th e change agents accor ding to two criteria: 1) that have much information and knowledge and 2) that they have much experience. Because of the nature of the WEM, the lack of experience of the students will always be an issue. As was previously mentione d, farmers were often reluctant to adopt innovations without the endorseme nt or approval of the faculty. The ideal solution for this reason and to increase the influence of farmer feedback on dire cting the uni versity’s research and development, would be for facu lty to spend more time on the farms with the farmers and students. Faculty should be enc ouraged to spend more time on the farms, but it would be difficult for EARTH faculty to de vote as much time as the farmers would like to them due to the myriad of other respons ibilities facing the facu lty. Perhaps if the student prepared a short proposal/descrip tion of his recommendations for his/her respective host farm and received a signature from the supervising professor, this would instill in the farmer, a sense of conf idence in the students’ suggestions. Tied with being a point of access as the mo st important role for the student was the role of the student as a motivator. Farmers literally admitted that if the students left, so did their motivation to try new things. While the students may not have enough credibility to convince a farmer to adopt highe r risk innovations, they inspire farmers to learn new skills. It also appeared that the more a faculty member was involved with a farmer, the stronger the farmer’s motivation was to experiment and adopt recommended practices and innovations. This is an intriguing point and warrants further investigation to understand why the EARTH students and f aculty are such strong motivational factors for the farmers. EARTH students and faculty should be aware of the power of influence they have on the farmers, especially when making recommendations. The agro-

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179 ecotourism initiative is a prime example where an examination of recommendations should be conducted. For instan ce, is it a viable and appropr iate option for a farmer to transform half of his property into a soccer field for the enjo yment of tourists that might visit the farm a maximum of two times a year? A Possible Alternative Design for the WEM Based on the results, it may be inferred that focusing on group formation efforts and complimenting needs assessment with id entifying and utilizing community assets would empower the community to learn from one another rather than depend so heavily on outside specialists. Using students to promote reciprocal farm visits between producers dedicated to a common activity (all producing yucca, ornamentals, or cattle, etc.) in order to share experiences and deve lop best management practices would also give the students an activity to center their experience ar ound. It might also serve to: breakdown potential social barriers and m obilize members of the community to work together; build relationships and contribute to creating a sustainable so cial structure that would exist after the student leaves; improve agricultural practices contributing to sustainable management and a more uniform quality product; and allow farmers to receive a higher price for their products. Responsive to Farmers Needs This study found that farmers benefit from their participation in the WEM in a number of ways but they also give of thei r time and resources to host the students on their farms. It is of utmost importance that the module is designed according to the convenience of the farmers. Farmer feedback included in this study should be valued and addressed by faculty and students at EARTH University. For example, farmers voiced

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180 their preference that workshops begin around 4 pm instead of 2 pm in the afternoon. The WEM chairs should make it a priority to change the time without hesitation. Students identified their poorest utilization of time while on the farms to be in the afternoon because after lunch the farmers t ook a break and it often rained. Students emphasized how much more productive they we re in the mornings. Perhaps students could go to the farms twice a week every week or alternate weeks just until after lunch with the farmers and then return to EA RTH for afternoon classes. Any potential modification must be subject to the review of the farmers. As discussed previously, farmers also e xpressed a desire to have more of a feedback and monitoring role regarding th e progress of the students during the WEM. They have also felt neglected in terms of receiving results of studies they have participated in. When worki ng with the farmers, it is a priority to always give them proper consideration and to inconvenience them as little as possible. They are being very generous when they agree to participate at all. Recommendations for Future Research The researcher was limited in terms of tim e and other resources but successfully conducted this baseline study in order to identify areas suitable and appropriate for future research. As results provided further insigh ts into the issues of farmers adoption of innovations and their relationship with change agents from EARTH’s Work Experience Module, opportunities for furthe r investigation became evident. Consequently, based on the findings and conclusions of this study, the following recommendations for further research were made. 1. This study found that the poorest farmer s of the communities may not have participated in the WEM. An analysis of the farm households in each of the communities would have provided a deeper understanding of the farm livelihood

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181 systems and facilitated the comparison of fa rmer characteristics of the farmers who participated in the WEM and those that did no t. This could then be used to reveal potential biases and encourage unbiased farmer participation in the module to ensure that EARTH’s efforts are no t contributing to a widening of the socioeconomic gap. 2. This study found that a significan t number of farmers were not able to adopt certain innovations because of the nearby flooding rivers. A study should collect data on their particular situa tion that would allow specialists to tailor innovations to these farmers’ particular circumstance. 3. This study found that the farmers expenditure of time, labor, and resources in agroecotourism preparations were not genera ting favorable economic returns. A study should examine and identify other agroecotourism initiatives in the area to determine if enough interest, support and adequa te infrastructure exist to make this endeavor worthwhile. 4. This study found that student and faculty ch ange agents in the WEM functioned as very significant motivationa l factors regardi ng the farmers’ decisions to adopt innovations and experiment. Results show that frequently, when the students would finish their term working on the fa rm, the farmer was no longer motivated to adopt new innovations and even disconti nued the use of previously adopted practices and technologies. Th is study also found that farmers that were more in contact with faculty adopted more innova tions. A study should be conducted to understand why student and faculty change agents have such a powerful motivating effect on the farmers and if and why they felt compelled or obligated to try the suggestions of the change agents. 5. Observation of educational pr ocesses utilized by change agents of the WEM. This study found evidence that would suggest that a true two-way exchange of knowledge was not always present between the farmers and change agents. Based on this study, it can be inferred that the needs of the farmers were not often identified or understood. Direct observation of the change agents ’ interactions with the farmers would assess the degree that participatory methods are employed and whether or not innovations are being adapted to the particular contexts in which the farmer would use them. 6. Examination of the maintenance of technologies. This study documented instances where the farmer needed maintenance on previously adopted innovations but did not receive assistance from EARTH. A study should be conducted to determine how much emphasis is placed on the maintenance of technologies already implemented and to determine if EARTH change agents solicit feedback from farmers periodically, after the innovation has been adopted. 7. Through this study, an interest was found in the WEM functioning as a component in a broader integrated ex tension system consisting of other entities involved in extension efforts in the humid tropic re gion. A study should explore the possible

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182 opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, particularly with entities involved in promoting and developing innovations sim ilar to those of those being promoted by EARTH. 8. This study revealed that the farmers percei ved strong social barri ers and resistance to working collectively, but the majority expressed a desire to overcome these obstacles to work together effectively. Furt her research should be conducted in this area, particularly to unders tand the farmers’ reasoning behind both their perceived negatives and positives associated with working collectively in order to strengthen the self-organizational capacities of the communities if appropriate. Limitations of the Study This formative evaluation of the EART H University Work Experience Module revealed many interesting and valuable findings Nevertheless, ther e are some areas of the study that could be improved upon to provi de more comprehensive results through a more participatory process. Most of thes e suggested improvements would require greater amounts of time and resources than were available. An examination of the issues of importance to each of the groups of participants (farmers, faculty and students) through participatory research before creating the primary data collection instrument for this study would have allowed the resear cher to ensure the incorporation of these issues into the study from the onset. An analysis of the farm households in each of the communities would have provided a deeper understandi ng of the farm livelihood sy stems and facilitated the comparison of farmer characteristics of th e farmers who participated in the WEM and those that did not. This could then be used to reveal potential biases and encourage unbiased farmer participation in the module. More focus groups would have allowe d for greater participation, more representation, and more data. Uniting fa rmers, faculty, and students in various combinations in forums to discuss percepti ons of the WEM in the presence of other

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183 groups would ensure that each group provided an d received direct feedback to and from the other groups. In order to more accurately assess th e achievements of the 2004 WEM, an examination of only the innovations adopted w ithin that year would have provided more relevant information. Summary This chapter provided the conclusion s and recommendations related to the perceptions of farmers, st udents, and faculty regardi ng university-based extension through EARTH University. The research centered on the Work Experience Module (WEM), through which students and faculty fr om the university served as agents of change, helping local farmers solve problem s and implement integrated agricultural systems (IAS) on their farms. This chapter addressed implicat ions and conclusions pertai ning to each of the five research objectives. There were significan t positive findings regarding the module as well as opportunities for improvement. A numb er of recommendations were provided to assist EARTH University in making their ex tension efforts as effect as possible. The intent of this study was to serve as an evaluation for the WEM and to identify areas suitable for future research. This was accomplished and several recommendations for further research were presented based upon the findings of this study. Lastly, the recommendations made throughout this chapter were offered to provide direction for improving EARTH’s Work Expe rience Module and efforts made by other entities offering extension services of this type.

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184 APPENDIX A FARMERS’ REPRESENTATION OF EARTH-FARM RELATIONSHIP Figure A-1. Female Farmers’ Repres entation of EARTH-Farm Relationship

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185 Figure B-1. Male Farmers’ Represen tation of EARTH-Farm relationship

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186 APPENDIX B ADOPTION PRACTICES BY COMMUNITY Table B-1. Adoption Practices by Community Participant Biodigester N.B. Compost Fish Ponds Lagoons Med. Plants Trees Ecotourism E.M. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

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187 APPENDIX C MAP OF ARGENTINA

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222 LIST OF REFERENCES Ary, D., Jacobs, L.C., & Razavieh, A. (2002). Introduction to research in education (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group. Barao, S.M. (1992). Behavioral aspects of technology adoption. Journal of Extension, 30 (2). Retrieved January 23, 2003, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1992summer/a4.html Barham, J.G. & Sullivan, J.A. (2002). PRA field manual: strengthening extension delivery in dominica University of Florida, Scho ol of Natural Resources and Environment. Brewer, F.L., (2001). Agricultural extension syst ems: an international perspective. North Chelmsford, MA: Erudition Books. Cabezas, F.A., & Botero, R.B. (2001, March). Integrated agricultural systems: options for sustainable production in the tropics. Paper presented at the electronic seminar on “How to install a polyet hylene biogas plant”, organi zed by Integrated BioSystems Network of Internationa l Organization of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Retrieved July 20, 2003, from http://fao.org/waicen t/faoinfo/agricult Chamala, S., & Mortiss, P. (1990). Working to gether for land care. Brisbane: Australian Academic Press. Chambers, R. (1997). Whose reality counts? Pu tting the first last. London: Intermediate Technology Publications C.I.A. (2004). The World Factbook: Costa Ri ca. Retrieved on November 16, 2004, from http://cia.gov/cia/publicati ons/factbook/pr int/cs.html Costa Rica Information. (2003). Retrieved on September 4, 2003, from http://centralamerica.com/cr/info/ Cristavao, A., Koehnen, T., & Portela, J. (1997) Developing and delivering extension programmes. In B.E.Swanson, R.P. Bentz, & A.J. Sofranko, Improving Agricultural Extension (pp. 57-65). Rome: Food and Ag riculture Organization of the United Nations.

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223 Crowder, V.L., & Anderson, J. (1996). Integr ating agricultura l research, education, and extension in developing countries Retrieved June 25, 2003, from http://www.fao.org/sd/EXdirect/EXan0009.htm Deshler, D. (1997). Evaluating extension pr ogrammes. In B.E.Swanson, R.P. Bentz, & A.J. Sofranko, Improving Agricultural Extension (pp. 93-104). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. EARTH University (2004, Summer). Products and services: bokash i. (Available from http://www.earth.ac.cr) EARTH University (2004). Programa de curso de trabajo 3r nivel: mdulo “desarrollo sostenible con la familia campesina”. (Available from EARTH University, Apartado 4442-1000, San Jos, Costa Rica) EARTH University (2004). Programa de de sarrollo comunitario. (Available from EARTH University, Apartado 4442-1000, San Jos, Costa Rica) Evenson, R.E. (1986). The Economics of extension. Journal of Agricu ltural Education and Extension,1 (4), 65-74. FARMESA (Farm-level Applied Research Me thods for East and Southerton Africa) (1996) Tubular plastic biodigester: desi gn, installation, and management. NCR, Systemedia, Harare, Zimbabwe. Food & Fertilizer Technology Center. (1985). Ag ricultural research to help the smallscale farmer in developing countries Retrieved on November 16, 2004, from http://www.fftc.agnet.org /library/article/eb222b.html Foster, J., Norton, G., & Brough, E. (1995). The role of problem specification workshops in extension: An ipm example. Journal of Extension, 33(4). Retrieved January 10, 2003, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1995august/a1.html. Gegeo, D.W. (Fall,1998). Indigenous knowle dge and empowerment: rural development examined from within. The Contemporary Pacific, 2(10), 289(27). Goss, K.F. (1979). Consequences of diffu sion of innovations to rural population. Rural Sociology, 44 754-772. Hagmann, J., Chuma, E., & Murwira, K. (1996). Improving the output of agricultural extensin and research through partic ipatory innovation development and extension; Experiences from Zimbabwe. Journal of Agricu ltural Education and Extension, 4, 15-24. Hildebrand, P.E. & Cabrera, V.E. (2003). Ethnographic Linear Programming in Small Farm Livelihood Systems. Retrieved on November 29, 2004, from http://plaza.ufl.edu/ vcabrera/files/aeb5167.pdf

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224 International Institute for Sustainable Deve lopment (n.d.). Participatory approach to research. Retrieved June 26, 2003 from http://www.iisd.org/casl/CASLGuid e/ParticipatoryApproach.htm King, R.N., & Rollins, T.J. (1995). Factors infl uencing the adoption of a nitrogen testing program. Journal of Extension, 33(4). Retrieved January 13, 2004, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1995august/rb2.html. King, R.N., & Rollins, T.J. (1999). An eval uation of an agricultural innovation: justification for participatory assistance. Journal of Extension, 37(4). Retrieved January 13, 2004, from http://www. joe.org/joe/1999august/rb2.html. Kumuk, T., & Akgungor, S. (1995). The role of public extensi on in introducing environment-friendly farming methods in Turkey. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Education, 4, 65-74. Mayoux, L. (2001). Participatory Methods Retrieved June 26, 2003 from http://www.enterprise-impact.org.uk Minjauw, B. & Romney, D. (2002, Septembe r). Integrated Livestock Management participatory methodology: the example of livestock farmer field schools. Newsletter on Integrated Control of Pa thogenic Trypanosomes and their Vectors. (6) Retrieved June 24, 2003 from http://www.icptv.org/Newlsetter s/Newletter6/newsletter6.htm Mwangi, J.G. (1998, Spring). Th e role of extensi on in the transfer and adoption of agricultural technologies Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 63-68. Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Ploeg, J.D. van der (1990). Labor, Mark ets and agricultural production. Boulder, Westview. Ploeg, J.D. van der (1993). Rural sociology a nd the new agrarian que stion: a perspective from the Netherlands, Sociologa Rurales, 33(2), 240-260. Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press. Seevers, B., Graham, D., Gamon, J., & Conklin, N. (1997). Education through cooperative extension. Albany, New York: Delmar Publishers. Sequeira, M. (1998). Rural development in Co sta Rica based on trees. InterPress Service. Retrieved November 4, 2003, from http://forests.org/archiv e/samerica/basetree.htm

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225 Stephenson, G. (2003). The somewhat flawed theoretical foundation of the extension service. Journal of Extension, 41(4). Swanson, B.E. (1997). The changing role of ex tension in technology transfer. In B.E. Swanson & A.J. Sofranko (Eds.), Improving agricultural ex tension: a reference manual (pp. 85-92). Rome, Italy. Texas A&M University System. (1995). What is Compost? Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Retrieved on November 10, 2004, from http://aggiehorticulture.tamu.edu/extension/gardcom/html Vanclay, F., & Lawrence, G. (1994). Farm er rationality and the adoption of environmentally sound practices; A critique of the assumptions of traditional agricultural extension [Electronic version]. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 1(1). Waugh, R.K., Hildebrand, P.E. & Andrew, C. O. (1989). Farming systems research and extension. In L. Lin Compton’s The Transformation of International Agricultural Research and Development (pp. 207-224). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

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226 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Steffany Lyn Dragon grew up in Florida, spending as much of her childhood as possible immersed in her true passion: horses. From her love of horses also came her introduction to agriculture, an area very dear to her heart. After high school, she attended Auburn University in Alabama and then the University of Florida where she studied Animal Science and became more familiar w ith the agricultural industry and the people who comprise it. Through the years, she was blessed with oppor tunities to experience other cultures vicariously through her parents’ stories about their four years living in Mexico before her birth and through visits to many islands of th e Caribbean. After her second trip to the Dominican Republic, she became very interested in sustainable agricultural development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Committed to this pursuit, she returned once again to the University of Florida and began work ing on her Master’s degree in International Agricultural Extension and Tropical Conser vation and Development. She has conducted field work in Costa Rica during the past two years and has worked on a U.S. national initiative to internationalize extension by assisting with a training program, which consisted of short term emersion in Cost a Rica, for county comm issioners, graduate students and extension faculty. Although she has interna tional interests, Steffany’s love of Florida, her family, horses and a simple life will always lead her back home. Steffany is also passionate about the U.S. Extension System and its missi on of helping people improve their lives.

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227 She plans to work in the area of agricultu re and natural resources, assisting people manage animals, agriculture, and natural resources in a sustainable manner.


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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0009302/00001

Material Information

Title: Perceptions of Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-Based Extension: A Case Study from Earth University, Costa Rica
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0009302:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0009302/00001

Material Information

Title: Perceptions of Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-Based Extension: A Case Study from Earth University, Costa Rica
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0009302:00001


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Full Text












PERCEPTIONS OF FARMERS, STUDENTS, AND FACULTY REGARDING
UNIVERSITY-BASED EXTENSION: A CASE STUDY FROM EARTH
UNIVERSITY, COSTA RICA













By

STEFFANY L. DRAGON


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Steffany L. Dragon

































To my family, with love and appreciation















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first like to express my appreciation to my family: My mom and dad;

brothers, Victor and Strad; and sister-in-law, Heather for their prayers and being

incredibly patient and understanding when I had to sacrifice all other aspects of my life

(including spending time with them) to accomplish this endeavor.

My advisor and graduate committee chair (Dr. Nick T. Place) had the most

amazing gift of being able to help me perceive every challenge or difficulty as an

opportunity to demonstrate my faith. The power of his positive energy and attitude

helped me to put things in perspective, see the broader picture, and remember to enjoy

successes (as I often forget to do).

If it had not been for Dr. Peter E. Hildebrand, this study would not have been

possible. Through his connections with EARTH University, Costa Rica, I was able to

transform a vision into reality and answer the calling to work in Latin America. I am

grateful for him paving the way when I did not know how to get there.

A heartfelt thank-you is extended to a truly remarkable man, Dr. B.K. Singh, for

being such an inspiration. I cannot thank him enough for his support while I was in Costa

Rica and beyond.

Dr. Pedro Bidegaray's assistance in the planning stages of this study was

invaluable. I would like to thank him for giving of his time and wisdom so generously.

Thanks go to Raul Botero, Egbert Spaans, Nidia Mata, David Massey, and Juan

Pinto who were all very helpful and supportive.









I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Carlos Hernandez, Coordinator of

Research Programs at EARTH University, for providing the financial support required to

carry out this study. In addition, a special thank you goes to the Tropical Conservation

and Development Program at the University of Florida for all of their assistance and for

providing funding for the study through the Curtis Wilgus Field Research Grant.

A heartfelt thank you goes to all of the EARTH students of the classes of 2003,

2004, and 2005. What a group of exceptional, talented, intelligent, kind, fun, and

compassionate people. I will never forget their friendship or their smiles.

A special thank-you to Othon Fernando Alvarez just for being him.

A very special thank-you to Herminio Dover, who was the best field partner that

anyone could ever ask for. A true gentleman and friend who never failed to get us out of

"San Luis."

A special thank-you to Brian Dillard for always believing in me and the incredible

amount of support he gave me to follow my dreams.

A heartfelt thank-you to Jill E. Barrera for her trust, confidence, words of wisdom,

and friendship. Through the years, she has taught me so much more than how to ride a

horse!

The most important thank-you goes to God, for He was the captain all along.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .................................................................... ....... xi

LIST OF FIGURES ...................................... ..... .. .......... ............ .. xiii

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... ...................... xiv

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ............................................. 1

Intro du action to th e Stu dy ................................................................... .....................
Overview of Costa Rica .................. .......................... .......... .............. .
G e o g rap h y ................................................................. 1
C lim ate ....................................................... 2
E nv ironm ent ....................................................... 2
P eop le ......................................................................... . 3
H history ............................................................. .3
C u rrent G ov ernm ent ................................................................. ............... 4
E conom y ................................................................................ 5
Background and Significance of the Problem .......................................................5
Situation of E extension .............. ..... ... .... ......... .................... 7
Educational Principles and Interpersonal Skills ...............................................9
Statem ent of the Problem .............................................................. ............. 10
Purpose and Objectives ......................................................11
O operational D definitions ............................................................13
L im station s of th e Stu dy .............................................................................................15
Summary ............ ........................... .......................................15

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .................. ...... .... ......17

Extension System s in Costa Rica ....................................................... 17
University-Based Extension in Costa Rica......................................20
The Need for Unbiased Extension ...... ............................... 22
Innovation-Diffusion Theory ................................. ........................ ..............23
Extension Education ................................. ........................... .... .......25
Farmer Rationale ................................. ........................... .... ...... 31









Conservation Technology ......... .. ......... ....... ........... ................... ............... 33
Components of an Integrated Agricultural System .......................................... 35
N ew R ole for E extension ........................................................... .....................40

3 THE RESEARCH PROTOCOL......... ............................................. ...............43

Intro du action ............. ...................................................................................... 4 3
R research D design ........................ .... ............ ............... .... ....... 43
P articip an ts ................................................................4 4
In strum entation ............................................................................. .............. 4 5
Focus G roups...................................................... 46
P articipant D ata C collection ................................................................................... 4 8
F arm ers ...................................................................................................... 4 8
S tu d e n ts ............................................................................................................... 5 0
F a c u lty ........................................................................................................... 5 0
D ata A nalysis................................................... 51
S u m m a ry ......................................................................................................5 2

4 RE SEAR CH RE SU LTS ...........................................................54

O overview of the Chapter ............................................................................................ 54
S tu d e n ts ............................................................................................................... 5 4
F a c u lty ........................................................................................................... 5 5
Farm ers .............. .......... ..................................... ................58
Identifying Components of an Integrated Agricultural System Utilized on
E ach F arm ................................................................6 0
Farmer Animal Resources .................................................60
Types of Plants ................................... ........................... ...60
Frequency / Percentage Distribution and Reported Purposes of Forest Species.60
L a g o o n s ............................................................................................................... 6 5
T h e B io d ig e ster ............................................................................................. 6 6
N u tritio n al B lo ck s ......................................................................................... 6 6
C o m p o st ...................................... .. ........................ ................................... 6 6
Source of Information on Components of an Integrated Agricultural Systems..67
Knowledge, Practice, and Dissemination of the "Integrated Agricultural
System" ................ .........................................68
Farmer Reasons for Adopting, Rejecting, or Discontinuing Use of a CIAS .............74
Reasons for Not Implementing Practice........................................ 74
Reasons for D iscontinuing Practices ................. ............ ........ ...................... 78
Other Potential Factors Affecting a Farmer's Decision to Utilize CIAS ............79
T rends by C om m unity ............................................................ 81
L a A rg entin a ............. .. ................................................................................8 1
E l H ogar ...................................................................................... 82
La Lucha ........................... .. .................. ............. ... 82
Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews .......................................................82
Farmer Interview Findings: Objective 1....................................... ............... 82









Perceptions of the Role of the Student Change Agents in the WEM .........................87
F arm er P ercep tio n s ................................................................... ..................... 8 7
Stu dent P perception s .............................. ........................ .. ........ .... ............90
Farm er Perceptions .................. ............................ .... .. .. .. ........ .... 98
Student P exceptions ...................................................................... ............... 100
Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews .................................. ............... 104
Missing Link in Communication...................... ... ......................... 104
Interpretation of "H ard W orker" ................................................... ................. 105
T technical K now ledge ............................................................... ..................... 107
Theoretical and Practical Knowledge Dyad......................................................107
Environm ental Consciousness........................................................................ 107
P professionalism .............. .. .. .................. .. ......... ............. ........ .. .... 107
Trust as a Prerequisite for Com m unication...................................................... 108
S o cial B en efits........... ................................................................. ....... ......... .. 10 8
G en d er ................................................................. ......................... 10 8
Students as a Link to Experts ........................................ ........................ 109
Qualitative Findings from Farmer Focus Groups....................................................109
Farmer Focus Group Findings: Objective 2.................... ................. ................109
Roles of the farm ers and students ................................... ............... 109
Qualitative Findings from Student Focus Groups ....................................................111
Findings from Student Focus Groups: Objective 2 ................ ...................111
How farmers perceived the students ............. ................... ................... 111
How Students Perceived the Farmers.......................................................... 112
Purpose of Course and Achievement of Stated Purpose .................................112
Positive Experiences .................. .......................... ..................... 113
N negative E experiences ................................................................................. 113
Utilization of Time .................. ............................. .......... ... ......... 114
Faculty Perceptions .................................................... .. .. .. .. ........ .... 115
Student Perceptions .................................................... .... .. .. .......... 118
Farm er Perceptions .............................................. .... ............... ............ 119
Differences between what ,\h,,l, Be and what Actually Was .............................. 124
Paired t-test for the Role of the WEM ........... .............................................. 124
Faculty Paired R response Test....................................... ......................... 124
Student Paired R response Test ........................................ ........ ............... 124
Farm er Paired R response Test ..................................... ........................... ...... 129
Paired t-test for the Role of the Farmer in the WEM ................... ...... ............129
Student Paired R response Test ........................................ ........ ............... 129
Farm er Paired Response Test ...................................................................... 129
Paired t-test for the Role of the Student in the WEM..............................................130
Student Paired R response Test ........................................ ........ ............... 130
Farmer Paired Response Test .......................... ......................... 136
Summary ............ ...........................................................139

5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS..... .................... ...............140

Introdu action ............. ....................................................................................14 0
O objectives of the Study ........ .......................................................... ............... 140


viii









Objective One-General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the
Use of Components of an Integrated Agricultural System by Participant
F arm ers .......................................................... ..... ...................... 14 2
Innovators and the "Human Factor"..... ........... ..... .......... .................. 150
Socioeconomic Gap ............................. .. ..... ......... .... .......... ............. 151
Objective Two-General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the
Perceptions of the Participants in Relation to Their Roles and the Roles of
Other Participants and Objective Four-Triangulation to identify Consistencies
or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents.................152
Major Themes and Triangulation of Student and Farmer Responses: The Role
of th e Stu d ent .............. .............................. ....... ... ........................... ... 152
Major Themes and Triangulation of Student and Farmer Responses: The Role
of the Farm er ........................... ... .............. ......... ........... 155
Insights Gained From Farmer Focus Groups ..................... ........................156
Objective Three-General Conclusions and Recommendations Regarding the
Perceptions of the Participants in Relation to the Role of the Work Experience
Module (WEM) and Objective Four-Triangulation to identify Consistencies
or Inconsistencies within and between the Groups of Respondents ....................157
Triangulation of Faculty, Farmer, and Student Responses: The Role of the
W E M ............... .......................................... ......... ........ 157
Insights Gained from Farmer Focus Groups ............................................. 162
Insights Gained from Student Focus Groups..................... ...................163
Objective Four-Significant Differences within Groups of Respondents Between
Their Perceptions of What Each Role Should Be and What It Actually Was
and Recommendations for Addressing Opportunities for Improvement ............165
Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the WEM ...................................165
Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Farmer in the WEM ............166
Participant Responses Regarding the Role of the Student in the WEM............ 167
Objective Five-General Conclusions Regarding an Association between Farmers'
Perceptions of the Student Change Agent and the their Level of Adoption of
C IA S ................... .......................................................... 168
Overall Conclusions and Implications for Extension................................... 169
Overall Conclusions and Recommendations for EARTH University.............170
Adoption and Perceptions of an Integrated Agricultural System (IAS)............170
Q quality D dialogue .......................................... ........................ 17 1
Process vs. Product .......... .............................. ........ ... .. .. ........ .... 172
U nbiased Selection of Farm ers...................................... ........................ 175
T he R ole of the Stu dent ............................. ................ .................................. 177
A Possible Alternative Design for the WEM ......................................... 179
R esponsive to Farm ers N eeds ........................................ ....................... 179
Recommendations for Future Research............................................... 180
L im itation s of th e Stu dy ............................................ ......................................... 182
Sum m ary ...................................... ............. ........ ... ....... ......... 183

APPENDIX

A FARMERS' REPRESENTATION OF EARTH-FARM RELATIONSHIP ............184










B ADOPTION PRACTICES BY COMMUNITY...................................... .................186

C M A P O F A R G E N TIN A .................................................................. .................... 187

D LUCHA COMMUNITY MAP..................................................... ................. 188

E HOGAR COM M UNITY M AP ........................................... ........................... 190

F IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL MEMORANDUM .....................................191

G FA R M ER IN STR U M E N T .............................................................. ....................193

H STUDENT INSTRUMENT (SPANISH) .......................................................208

I FA CULTY IN STRUM EN T .............................................. ............................. 217

L IST O F R EFE R EN C E S ........................................................................... ........ .......... 222

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ........................................... ...........................................226




































x
















LIST OF TABLES


Table pge

4-1 Demographic Characteristics of Students in the 2004 WEM...............................56

4-2 Demographic Characteristics of Faculty in the 2004 WEM ...............................57

4-3 Demographic Characteristics of Farmers and Households in the 2004 WEM......59

4-4 Farmer Reported Behavior regarding Components of an Integrated
A agricultural System ...................... ...... ............ ................... .. ...... 62

4-5 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Cattle..........................63

4.6 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Chickens................63

4-7 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Pigs.............................. 63

4-8 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Horses ........................63

4.9 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers Growing Plants...................64

4.10 Frequency and Distribution of Farmers with Forest Species ..............................64

4-11 Frequency and Distribution of Purposes for having Forest Species...................65

4-12 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Biodigester purposes.......................66

4-13 Sources of Information about each Component of an Integrated Agricultural
Sy stem ............... ..................................... ............................7 0

4-14 Integrated Agricultural System Knowledge / Dissemination. ............................73

4-15 Farmer Reasons for Not Implementing the Component of an Integrated
A agricultural System ......................................... ................. .. ...... 76

4-16 Farmer Reasons for Discontinuance of Components of an Integrated
A agricultural System ......................................... ................. .. ...... 80

4-17 Comparing Levels of Adoption of CIAS by Community...............................82









4-18 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Student Change Agent in the Work
E x p erien ce P program ....................................................................... ..................88

4-19 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Student Change Agent in the Work
E experience M odule. ............................ ........................... .......... .... ............92

4-20 Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience
M odule .................................. ................................. ........... 94

4-21 Student Perceptions of their Role as Change Agents in the Work Experience
M odule .................................. ................................. ........... 96

4-22 Farmer Perceptions of their Role in the Work Experience Module .......................99

4-23 Farmer Perceptions of their Role in the Work Experience Module..................... 102

4-24 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience
M odule. ............................................................................103

4-25 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience
M odule. ............................................................................106

4-26 Faculty Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module. ................. 117

4-27 Student Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module.....................120

4.28 Farmer Perceptions of the Role of the Work Experience Module .......................123

4-29 Faculty Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module................ 126

4-30 Student Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module. ............127

4-31 Farmer Paired Response Test: Role of the Work Experience Module ..............131

4-32 Student Paired Response Test: Role of the Farmer in the Work Experience
M odule. ............................................................................132

4-33 Farmer Paired Response Test: Their Role in the Work Experience Module.......133

4-34 Student Paired Response Test: Their Role in the Work Experience Module......134

B-l Adoption Practices by Community ........... .................................. ............... 186
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pge

2.1 Integrated Agricultural System Model.......................... ......... ................40

A-1 Female Farmers' Representation of EARTH-Farm Relationship.........................184

B-1 Male Farmers' Representation of EARTH-Farm relationship .............................185















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

PERCEPTIONS OF FARMERS, STUDENTS, AND FACULTY REGARDING
UNIVERSITY-BASED EXTENSION: A CASE STUDY FROM EARTH
UNIVERSITY, COSTA RICA

By

Steffany L. Dragon

May 2005

Chair: Nick T. Place
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication

This study is in response to issues of sustainable development among small-scale

farmers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and specifically of importance

within Costa Rica's agricultural extension system. This study is set within the context of

two broader issues: the situation of small-scale farmers in Costa Rica that corroborate the

need for Extension and the imperative to improve Extension services to these farmers.

Limited-resource farmers in Costa Rica are in constant need of better ways to manage

their farms with minimum investment and environmental impact. While innovations exist

that were designed with this in mind, small-scale farmers continue to demonstrate a low

rate of adoption of these sustainable technologies. Through the direction of the

Community Development Program at EARTH University, a module referred to as the

"Work Experience Module," (WEM) has been designed and implemented as part of the

curriculum for third year students. Through this module, student agricultural engineers









and EARTH faculty act as change agents and work with local farmers to implement

innovations such as an Integrated Agricultural system (IAS). The purpose of this study

was to evaluate the Work Experience Module according to: 1) the perceived roles of the

participants (farmers, students and faculty) in the module and 2) farmer adoption

practices of components of an Integrated Agricultural System (IAS). The design of this

study is a formative evaluation in the form of a mixed-method, correlational case study.

The researcher used the same instrument to serve as both a structured interview guide to

collect data from farmers, and a census survey to collect data from students and faculty

involved in the WEM in 2004. Focus groups were also conducted with the farmers and

students during the final stages of data collection. Data analysis consisted of basic

descriptive statistical tests for the quantitative data. In order to identify consistencies or

inconsistencies within groups of responses paired t-tests were run. Scores were assigned

for responses according to a 3 pt. Likert-scale. In order to investigate the possibility that

the farmers' perceptions of the student change agent affects the farmers' decisions to

utilize components of an IAS, the researcher conducted quantitative statistical tests.

Qualitative findings were analyzed using content analysis to identify major and minor

themes which were used to clarify and/or substantiate findings revealed via the scaled

questions from the interview guide. Many positive aspects of the module have been

identified by its participants including the role of the students as: a means for cultural

exchange; motivational factors for farmers to learn new skills; access points to

information, research and expertise at the university; and other social benefits. Some

interesting opportunities for improvement were revealed and participants identified

effective and ineffective aspects of the module along with their suggestions.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

Introduction to the Study

A mixed-method cross sectional case study was conducted to obtain the perceptions

of farmers, students, and faculty regarding University-based Extension being carried out

through the Work Experience Module (WEM) at EARTH University, Costa Rica.

The study uncovered factors of the specific module that the researcher will address

at meetings, oral briefing, conferences, and through various print media in order to

improve the existing module and to recommend effective aspects of the module for

incorporation into other extension programs.

Overview of Costa Rica

To help set the stage, the following section provides a brief summary of the

geography, climate, environment, people, history, government, and economy of Costa

Rica. The information was derived from the World Fact Book, produced by the United

States' C.I.A. (2004) and Costa Rica Information (2003).

Geography

Costa Rica is considered to be part of Central America and the Caribbean. The

Eastern coastline meets the Caribbean Sea while the Pacific Ocean is to the West. Both

coasts lined with white and black beaches. Bordered by Nicaragua to the North and

Panama as its Southern neighbor, Costa Rica is a link in the Central American Isthmus.

Costa Rica is located at coordinates 10 000 N longitude and 84 000 W latitude, occupying

50,900 km2 (19,563 square miles), an area slightly smaller than West Virginia.









The interior of the country is structured by a backbone of volcanoes and mountains

extending from the Andes mountain system. The mountains are a part of the Sierra Madre

chain which continues along the Western side of the Americas. This chain gives rise to

four mountain ranges that run North and South in Costa Rica. The Guanacaste and the

Tilaran mountains are in the North, while the South is home to the Central and

Talamanca ranges. The highest point is Mt. Chirripo, at 3,797 meters above sea level.

Costa Rica is part of the Pacific "Rim of Fire" containing seven of the Central American

Isthmus' forty-two active volcanoes and a multitude of dormant or extinct cones. Earth

tremors and small quakes occur occasionally.

Climate

The climate of Costa Rica consists of Tropical and Subtropical regions. Costa

Ricans experience a dry season from December until April and a rainy season that

stretches from May until November. Annual rainfall averages one-hundred inches

nationwide with some mountainous regions receiving only twenty-five inches on exposed

Eastern slopes. The highlands experience a relatively mild climate, and temperature is

determined by elevation rather than location. There is no distinct winter or summer. The

mean temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the Central Valley, 82 degrees on the

Caribbean coast, and 89 degrees on the Pacific Coast.

Environment

Located at the nexus of two continents (North America and South America) and

two oceans, this confluence of land and water makes this region one of Mother Nature's

great bottlenecks. This diminutive nation is home to a relatively high, five percent, of the

world's biodiversity; containing greater than 800 species of ferns, 1,000 species of

orchids, 2,000 kinds of trees, and 200 species of mammals. Current environmental issues









include deforestation and land use change, largely a result of clearing land for cattle

ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal and marine pollution; fisheries protection;

solid waste management; and air pollution.

People

Costa Rica has a population of 3,896,092. Three-fourths of this population live in

the middle of the Meseta Central, known as the Central Valley. The capital city of San

Jose, along with the neighboring major cities of Alajuela and Heredia are located in the

valley. The formerly mentioned cities also have the names of three of the seven provinces

of the country. The others are: Cartago, Guanacaste, Limon, and Puntarenas. Ninety-four

percent of the population is white (including mestizo), three percent is black, one percent

is American Indian, and another one percent is Chinese. The great majority of Costa

Ricans are Roman Catholic, followed by Evangelical, Jehovah's Witnesses, and

Protestants. Spanish is the official language, while English is spoken around Puerto

Limon. Literacy rate, as defined by persons age fifteen and older that can read and write

is 95.9% for males and 96.1% for females. The median age for Costa Ricans is 24.9 years

for males, and 25.8 years for females. An average of 2.38 children are born per woman.

Life expectancy for men is 73.87 years, and 79.11 years for women.

History

Costa Rica has been known as a haven of peace. Since the nineteenth century, only

two brief periods of violence hampered its democratic development. When Central

America gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821, controversy existed

over whether Costa Rica should join newly independent Mexico or a new confederation

of Central American States. A bitter quarrel ensued between leaders of San Jose and their









counterparts in Cartaga and Heredia, until a brief civil war broke out. In 1823, San Jose

emerged the victor, uniting Costa Rica with the new confederation.

In 1824, Juan Mora Fernandez was the country's first elected head of state. His

administration led to an increase in public education and encouraged the cultivation of

coffee with land grants for growers. This gave rise to the Costa Rican elite, who were

known as the coffee barons. In 1870, Tom Guardia, a military dictator, seized power. It

was not until the Post-Guardia years that Costa Rica began the transition back to

democratic development.

The next noteworthy era commenced when elected leader, Dr. Rafael Angel

Calderon and his United Social Christian political party refused to step down after losing

a 1948 election. A civil war broke out, the opposition being lead by a man known as Don

Pepe. Supported by the Guatemalan and Cuban governments, Don Pepe became the head

of the Republic after the forty day war. Don Pepe founded the Partido de Liberaci6n

Nacional (The National Liberation Party), which makes up one of the two major political

parties that exist in Costa Rica today. The other is the aforementioned United Social

Christian party. Don Pepe died a national hero in 1990, his deeds and policies having set

the scene for the social and economic progress that would earn Costa Rica the reputation

as a peaceful and stable island of democracy in one of the world's most politically

unstable and often war torn regions.

Current Government

In 1986, Oscar Arias Sanchez, a lawyer, won the presidential election running on a

peace platform. In 1987, five Central American presidents signed his peace plan in

Guatemala City. This even earned Arias the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2002 Abel Pacheco, of

the Social Christian Unity party was elected president. Recently, he has announced Costa









Rica's support toward the United States' war on terrorism. Costa Rica has no regular

indigenous military forces, only an air section and the Ministry of Public Forces. As a

democratic republic, the government exists with an executive branch made up of the

president, two vice presidents, and a cabinet. The legislative branch is the National

Assembly, consisting of fifty-seven elected members. National elections are held every

four years on the first Sunday of February. A 1969 constitutional amendment deemed that

the president may only serve one four year term in a lifetime. This amendment was

rectified in 2004 to allow presidents to serve for two terms.

Economy

Costa Rica remains largely an agricultural country, although its economy has

expanded to include strong technology and tourism sectors due mostly to the arrival of

large international hotels and a strong interest in ecotourism. For this reason, foreign

exchange is increasing. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political

stability and high education levels. Industries include: microprocessors, food processing,

textile and clothing, construction materials, fertilizers, and plastic products.

Agriculture exports consist largely of: coffee, sugar cane, pineapple, bananas, citrus

fruits, ferns, flowers, ornamental plants, dairy farming, and beef ranching. Recently,

decreased coffee prices and an overabundance of bananas have hurt the agriculture

sector.

Background and Significance of the Problem

This study is in response to issues of sustainable development among small-scale

farmers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and specifically of importance

within Costa Rica's agricultural extension system. This chapter will first establish two

broader issues that provide the context for this particular study. The first is the situation









of small-scale farmers in Costa Rica that corroborate the need for Extension, and the

second is the imperative to improve Extension services to these farmers. Most farms in

tropical areas of the world, including Costa Rica, are small-scale, subsistence farms

where the farm must produce most things necessary to maintain the livelihood of the

family. Due to the higher susceptibility of developing countries to the problems of low

agricultural productivity and environmental degradation (Mwangi, 1998), along with the

high costs and difficulty in obtaining agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and animal

feed, preserving the livelihoods of these systems is a challenge (Cabezas & Botero,

2001).

Studies propose that the challenge facing Extension in the 21st century will be the

focus on sustainable technologies suited to the needs of small-scale farmers. The lack of

resources characteristic of small-scale farmers implies a focus on low capital investment

and low risk, rather than on maximization of production (Food & Fertilizer Technology

Center (FFTC), 1985). The difficulty with which small-scale farmers are able to access

markets for purchasing inputs and for selling farm produce must also be strongly

considered by extension workers. Sustainable agricultural technologies / practices are

innovations that make more efficient use of natural resources by allowing the farmer to

utilize inputs that are generated by the farm outputs (and are therefore organic in nature),

thereby decreasing their dependency on purchasing external inputs that are often

synthetic and detrimental to the environment.

Even when these technologies exist, resource poor farmers, who constitute the

majority of farmers in Costa Rica and are thought to pose the most immediate threat to

the sustainability of natural resources (Swanson, 1997), demonstrate a low rate of









adoption of sustainable technologies. This may be due to the fact that the poorer farmers

have few reserves to protect themselves in the event of failure of an innovation. Little or

no production surplus leaves a slight margin of error, if any. Therefore, it is suggested

that risk aversion plays an important role in slowing the adoption of innovations (FFTC,

1985). Studies reveal that a farmer's assessment of the level of risk associated with the

adoption of a technology/practice is a composite of many factors, of which the

characteristic of the innovation itself is only one. Others include the farmer's faith in the

extension worker's competence, previous experience with agricultural innovations, and

the amount of information he/she has received concerning the new technology (FFTC,

1985). An increased rate of adoption of sustainable innovations among small-scale

farmers may be possible by uncovering obstacles to adoption (which may include

problems with the innovation itself) and identifying successful educational methods to be

employed by extension agents.

Situation of Extension

The prominent form of extension to smallholder farms is agricultural assistance in

the form of technology transfer intended to improve the livelihood of the farmers, their

families and communities. The role of extension is not to directly generate knowledge

(which is done at research centers, institutions, and agricultural colleges), but to transfer

knowledge and instill learning, thereby assisting farmers to implement appropriate

innovations, through education. In his book, Agricultural Extension Systems: An

International Approach, Frank Brewer describes agricultural extension as the largest non-

formal problem-solving educational delivery system in the world that can serve as the

link between people and knowledge (Brewer, 2001). However, great variability among

extension systems is found throughout the world.









In developing countries, extension organizations are often under funded and lack

linkages to appropriate and applied research (Brewer, 2001). The most commonly used

extension system world-wide, and the dominant form of extension in Costa Rica, the

General Agricultural Extension System, is often carried out through a Ministry of

Agriculture and has been criticized for lacking any type of feedback from clientele in

reference to their needs and problems. Due to this lack of critical upward communication,

research is rarely prioritized according to field evaluations and the needs of the clientele

(Brewer, 2001). Therefore, the technologies and practices being diffused are often not

relevant or applicable to the end user and are consequently not adopted. There are a

number of other criticisms and concerns about this type of system that will be discussed

further in Chapter Two.

For decades, U.S. Extension was based on the theory that if innovative farmers

were targeted to adopt innovations, other farmers would soon follow, increasing the rate

of adoption of new agricultural practices (Stephenson, 2003). Goss (1979) along with

other researchers found that the Innovation-Diffusion Theory, that assumed that a

"trickle-down" mechanism was always in place and functional, began to fail and even

result in undesirable consequences when applied to international development,

particularly in Latin America (Stephenson, 2003). Everett Rogers, the father of the

theory, later criticized his own rationale, stating that it presented a bias in favor of larger,

wealthier, farmers who were easier to persuade into adopting. Waugh, Hildebrand and

Andrew (1989) found that rather than "trickling down" from innovative farmers to

smaller-scale farmers, technologies often stopped with the farmers with more resources

and higher environmental quality. Rather than attributing the adoption of an innovation









to the "innovative" or "enterprising" character of the farmer, and the non-adoption to the

"passive" or "conservative" farmer, studies began to identify the major cause of rejection

of an innovation to be the lack of farmer resources to implement it (FFTC, 1985).

Swanson (1997) states that future extension efforts will emphasize the quality of

interaction between agent and client instead of on the movement of "messages" through a

top-down hierarchical system or matrix of social networks, as was the focus of Roger's

Innovation-Diffusion Theory (Rogers, 2003).

Educational Principles and Interpersonal Skills

Studies have found that the educational process that extension agents use to diffuse

and implement innovations is a critical component of their services to farmers (King,

1995). The farming systems movement, which will be further discussed in the next

chapter, also emphasizes the importance of the problem solving process of education

rather than just the communication of research results to farmers, in rural development

(Waugh et al., 1989). Similarly, Hagmann et al. (1996) identifies dialogue with farmers,

farmer experimentation, and the strengthening of self-organizational capacities of rural

communities as the major elements to improve development and the spreading of

innovations. It has been suggested that considering personal, cultural, social and

situational factors, and appropriately altering the diffusion process employed by change

agents can remove barriers to adoption when appropriate and facilitate the

implementation of sustainable technologies (Barao, 1992). Only when the factors that

influence the farmers' behavior are understood will extension workers be effective at

diffusing innovations that respond to the needs of the farmers. Increasing farmers'

capacity for making decisions when presented with available innovations and establishing









good rapport between the farmer and the extension agent are also beneficial (Mwangi,

1997).

Statement of the Problem

Due to high costs and difficulty in obtaining agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer

and animal feed, and an ever increasing population in conjunction with a diminishing

source of land and other natural resources to devote to agricultural production of the

world's food source, utilizing the most effective and appropriate agriculture practices has

become an issue for the Costa Rican government and small scale farmers, often referred

to as smallholders (Cabezas & Botero, 2001). Farming practices that minimize the

impact on natural resources and decrease the cost of farm inputs are utilized in integrated

agriculture systems, but in order for them to be functional, the adoption of new,

sustainable technologies is required. Research shows that small scale farmers in

developing countries exhibit low adoption rates of these technologies and practices.

Extension workers need to understand what drives the adoption or non-adoption of

sustainable technologies in order to provide feedback on the innovations to the

developers and to alter their educational process with farmers in a way that will increase

the appropriate implementation of them.

Entities involved in extension efforts are constantly striving for improved

educational methods. The aforementioned criticisms and concerns about the General

Agricultural Extension System have lead to the recent interest of the Costa Rican

government in the Educational Institutional Extension System. This type of system is also

referred to as University-Based Extension and Chapter 2 provides more in depth

information about it. Extension work through an Educational Institutional Extension

System is carried out in areas of Costa Rica by the private, international college of









agriculture, EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Regi6n Tropical Humeda) University,

as well as the University of Costa Rica. Through the direction of the Community

Development Program at EARTH University, a module, "Sustainable Development with

the Farm Family" has been designed and implemented as part of the curriculum for third

year students.

Existing entities involved in Extension efforts, such as the Ministry of Agriculture,

may be able to improve their programs by incorporating components of the module, such

as educational principles that are employed by EARTH students and faculty in working

with local farmers, into their organization. Through the EARTH module, which is

referred to as the Work Experience Module (WEM) from this point forward, student

agricultural engineers act as change agents to employ the principles of knowledge,

participation, and interpersonal characteristics to accomplish the following objectives: 1)

To understand the life of rural families via living with them, 2) To put technical

knowledge to practice via the implementation of practices that promote the sustainability

of the farm, and 3) To establish a positive and respectful dialogue with the host family

and to systematically communicate observations and points of view. This module seeks

to emphasize the quality of interaction between the student change agent and the farmer

instead of just the movement of "messages" through a top-down hierarchical system.

Before recommending that components of a model or a model itself be used on a broader

scale, an evaluation of the model is necessary.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Work Experience Module according

to the perceptions of the participants and the level of adoption of alternative agricultural

practices/systems among participating farmers.









Objective 1: Identify factors effecting the farmers' decisions to utilize components of an

Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) by:

* Objective la: identifying components of an integrated agricultural system being
utilized on each farm

* Objective lb: identifying the source from which the farmer became aware and
learned about the component of an integrated agricultural system

* Objective Ic: identifying the farmer's reasons for adopting, rejecting, or
discontinuing the use of a component of an integrated agricultural system

* Objective Id: determining if a relationship exists between the adoption of a
component, or components of an integrated agricultural system and household
characteristics such as farmer gender, and availability of resources (such as land,
labor, economic, and other)

Objective 2: To determine the perceptions of both student and farmer participants in

relation to their role and the role of other participants of the Work Experience Module,

WEM, through:

* Objective 2a: determining the perceptions of the student agents and farmers with
respect to their own present roles in the WEM and what they perceive their role
should be

* Objective 2b: determining the perceptions of the farmers with respect to the
present role of the student change agents in the WEM and what they perceive their
role should be (in terms of educational processes based on the principles of:
knowledge, participation, and interpersonal characteristics)

* Objective 2c: determining the perceptions of the students with respect to the
present role of the farmers in the WEM and what they perceive their role should be

Objective 3: To determine the perceptions of the farmers, students, and faculty with

respect to the present role of the WEM (especially in community development) and what

they perceive the role should be

Objective 4: To identify consistencies or inconsistencies within and between the groups

of respondents (students, farmers, and faculty) through analysis and triangulation of the


data obtained by objectives 2 and 3









Objective 5: To correlate the perceptions of the WEM with the level of adoption of CIAS

Operational Definitions

Change Agent: A change agent (or extension agent, extension worker) is an

intermediary between the developers of the original form of a technology and its end

users. In this case, the change agents are the students and the faculty from EARTH

University who were involved in the 2004 Work Experience Module. "End users" in this

case refers to the farmers.

Components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS): The identified

components of the Integrated Agricultural Systems being implemented in the study-site

are: animals, crops, forest species, nutritional blocks, compost, effective microorganisms,

medicinal plants, the biodigester, and lagoons.

Extension: In this study, extension refers to a nonformal, problem-solving

educational delivery system that links people to knowledge.

Farmer Rationale: In this study, this term refers to the basis upon which decisions

are made regarding the use of an innovation. It includes reasons that reflect the farmer's

fundamental values, whether they are economic, social, cultural, or other.

Integrated Agricultural System (IAS): Integrated farm systems that are

characterized by the interaction of different components such as agriculture, forest, and

animals. In this system, the outputs produced from each component serve as an input for

another component of the system.

Ministry of Agriculture (MAG): Translated from the "Ministerio de Agricultura y

Ganaderia." It is the branch of Costa Rica's central government that carries out extension

services throughout the country.









Program of Community Development (PCD): Translated from "Programa de

Desarrollo Comunitario, PDC." It is an EARTH University program that involves local

residents in the teaching / learning process, according to a unique educational model. The

objectives of the program established by EARTH are to: 1) contribute to the

improvement of the equality of life of the neighboring communities of Guacimo county;

2) strengthen the social commitment of the students of EARTH University; and 3)

integrate the community experience with the academic program.

Small-scale Farmers: subsistence farmers who depend on the farm to produce most

of the things necessary to maintain the livelihood of the family. In this study, small-scale

farmers are also referred to as "resource-poor farmers." These farmers have just enough

resources to sustain the household with none or very little production that surpasses

household consumption or that is sold to provide income to purchase other necessities,

such as clothing or medicine.

Sustainable Technologies / Systems / Practices: agricultural practices / systems

that make more efficient use of natural resources by allowing the farmer to utilize inputs

that are generated by the farm outputs (and are therefore organic in nature), thereby

decreasing their dependency on purchasing external inputs that are often synthetic and

detrimental to the environment.

Work Experience Module (WEM): This term was developed by the researcher for

simplicity to refer to the 3rd Level Work Experience Module, "Sustainable Development

with the Farm Family." The WEM works within the framework of the PCD and is a

required university course for third year students. On a given Wednesday in a 28 week

period (2 trimesters), half of the third-year EARTH students worked on community









projects while the other half worked directly with small -scale, resource poor farmers

through the WEM.

Limitations of the Study

The following are limitations of this study:

1. The results of this study are specific to the WEM at EARTH University, but the
implications can be applied to Extension in general.

2. There may be subjective bias on behalf of the researcher as to how the data were
interpreted which may influence the findings. Being cognizant of this throughout
the process served to minimize bias.

3. Based on the researcher's experience and advice from students and faculty with
experience in working with local, small-scale farmers, it was determined that a
response scale including more than 3 choices would not be effective. Therefore,
the interview guide consisted of questions based on a 3 point Likert-scale with
some open-ended questions. In order to maintain consistency for comparison, the
student and faculty surveys were also created with 3 point Likert-scales. Had the
researcher been able to use a larger scale, there may have been more variability in
the data.

4. Respondents were asked to recall and evaluate past experiences and self-report
which may introduce measurement error.

5. Being a census study, data analysis was limited to nonparametric statistical tests.

Summary

This chapter justified the need and provided background for the research study.

The importance, timeliness and relevancy of the research were described. The chapter

explained the situation of small-scale farmers in Costa Rica, illustrating the opportunity

and necessity for Extension services to reach these producers. The chapter also suggested

ways to tailor services more effectively to small-scale farmers by focusing on the

development and implementation of appropriate sustainable agricultural practices and

emphasizing low capital investment and low risk rather than production maximization.






16


In this chapter, the importance of the relationship between the farmer and the extension

worker and the educational process in which they engage were also emphasized.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

This chapter provides an overview of the available literature pertaining to criticisms

and failings of past extension efforts and some of the theories and schools of thought

upon which they were operating, and includes discussion on what opportunities exist to

improve the efficacy of extension. It consists of the following sections: Extension

Systems in Costa Rica; University-based Extension in Costa Rica; Unbiased Extension;

Extension Education; Innovation-Diffusion Theory; Farmer Rationale; Conservation

Technology and a New Role for Extension. An explanation and description of an

"Alternative Agricultural System" is also provided, as it is being locally promoted to

farmers around EARTH University as an alternative to traditional, high-input, intensive

agricultural practices.

Extension Systems in Costa Rica

As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the extension systems of most relevance

to this study are the General Agricultural Extension System and the Educational

Institutional Extension System. The General Agricultural Extension System is the most

common in the world and is found in government organizations carrying out extension

programs most often through a Ministry of Agriculture or Department of Agriculture

branch of central government (Brewer, 2001). The basic assumption underlying this

system is that technology and information is available that would help farmers. This is

often a false assumption because linkages to appropriate and applied research are lacking

(Brewer, 2001). Technology transfer is the main goal of this system. Extension workers









are employees of the government and are subject to government changes in priorities and

policies. The Ministry of Agriculture focuses on increasing production of agriculture in

order to increase farmer income and the overall economy of the country. It assumes that

the government knows what the farmers need so there is a tendency not to ask rural

residents about self needs (Brewer, 2001).

Lack of participation by farmers in program priorities and offerings is a barrier to

adoption. Extension officers located in a given place may encourage farmers to adopt

practices not well suited to their geographic area. The extension field staff may be more

interested in meeting the expectations of their supervisors than meeting the needs of local

people. Some reasons may be that they are not locally accountable and that they are

working in unfavorable conditions. These conditions may be characterized by low

morale, lack of mobility, virtually no equipment, extremely low salaries, little

transportation and lack of other resources (Nagel, 2001). Out of necessity to support their

families, extension workers may promote technologies whose adoption may not be

appropriate for the farmer, but may put him or her in good standing with a supervisor.

The General Agricultural Extension System is sometimes perceived as having a

contradictory nature of its goals. Public interest is to guide goal setting; however, the

concept of public interest is problematic. It implies serving both rural farmers and urban

populations; subsistence production and promoting cash crops for export; and serving the

needs of specific groups, extending assistance to high potential and resource-poor

producers. Commonly, priorities are set that favor innovative individuals within the

modern sector, neglecting the poorer segments of the population (Nagel, 2001). Other

motivations for working with more responsive and innovative clientele include being able









to fulfill production plans and improve job satisfaction or status, and being prejudiced

against certain audiences. Extension work under the Ministry of Agriculture is not purely

educational, but is engaged in the following activities that may be detrimental to the

relationship between the agent and the farmer: supervising repayment, policing disease

control measures, and other regulatory practices (Nagel, 2001). Perhaps the dominant

criticism of this type of system, found repeatedly in the literature is its lack of organized

feedback from clientele.

The Unites States Land Grant System is the most famous example of the

Educational Institutional Extension System. It is university-based and develops programs

using nonformal education through group needs assessment at the local level. It is usually

organized through the College of Agriculture with county and multi-county offices that

provide localized technical knowledge. The purpose is to link research done at the

university and different county locations to people in order to help them make their own

decisions. The emphasis is on three components: research, teaching, and extension.

Unlike the Ministry of Agriculture that must provide its own complete staff, this system

has access to highly trained specialists and researchers employed through the university.

While the system was originally designed to foster communication from working farmers

to academic professionals who actually conduct the research, whether or not this

researcher-farmer interaction exists is debatable. Rather than focusing on practical

education and technology transfer, United States universities have drifted toward

fundamental research that develops scientific knowledge that does not necessarily lead to

applicable technology, thus leaving universities unprepared to maximize a systems

approach for development (which will be discussed further) (Waugh, Hildebrand &









Andrew, 1989). Recently, it has been suggested that the land grant system refocus on the

basic extension principles upon which it was created, captured by the following quote of

Seaman A. Knapp used to describe the rationale behind on-farm experimentation and

demonstrations conducted by the farmers themselves: "What a man hears, he may doubt.

What a man sees, he may possibly doubt. What a man does himself, he cannot doubt"

(Seevers, et al., 1997).

University-Based Extension in Costa Rica

Only in the U.S. does the main extension function remain within the university.

Other developing countries have integrated educational institutions into practical

extension work. The distinguishing characteristic of the Educational Institutional System

is the active involvement of an institution whose primary function is formal education in

the nonformal out-of-classroom role of extension education (Brewer, 2001). This type of

system is also referred to as University-Based Extension and its existence is emerging in

Costa Rica as the MAG enters into increased collaboration with the University of Costa

Rica, especially utilizing their research efforts and experiment stations (Ministerio de

Agriculture y Ganaderia, 2004).

Extension work through an Educational Institutional Extension System is also

being carried out in the canton of Guacimo, Costa Rica by the private, international

college of agriculture, EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Regi6n Tropical Humeda)

University, as well as the University of Costa Rica. Through the direction of the

Community Development Program at EARTH University, a module, "Sustainable

Development with the Farm Family" has been designed and implemented as part of the

curriculum for third year students. Existing entities involved in Extension efforts, such as

the Ministry of Agriculture, may be able to improve their programs by incorporating









components of the module, such as educational principles that are employed by EARTH

students and faculty in working with local farmers, into their organization.

The Program of Community Development (PCD) at EARTH University is

responsible for the development, administration, and implementation of the WEM. The

following information regarding PCD and WEM was derived from documents produced

by EARTH administration and faculty (EARTH University, 2004). The goal of PCD is

stated as follows: "To implement an educational model that involves local residents in the

teaching/learning process, improving the quality of life in their communities while

helping EARTH students to develop their knowledge and skills." It is important to

understand the purpose of PCD because the WEM works within this framework. The

main objectives of PCD are:

1. To contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the neighboring
communities of Guacimo county through doing such things as: organizing training
sessions, conducting participatory research, bringing technical assistance to the
people, promoting small business ventures, strengthening community organization,
and diversifying economic activities.

2. To strengthen the social commitment of the students by facilitating the
incorporation of students in all levels of rural development

3. To integrate the community experience with the academic program by promoting
and facilitating the effective integration of professors and students in community
development

Through the EARTH module, which is referred to as the Work Experience Module

(WEM) from this point forward, student agricultural engineers act as change agents to

employ the principles of knowledge, participation, and interpersonal characteristics to

accomplish the following objectives: 1) To understand the life of rural families via living

with them, 2) To put technical knowledge to practice via the implementation of practices

that promote the sustainability of the farm, and 3) To establish a positive and respectful









dialogue with the host family and to systematically communicate observations and points

of view. This module seeks to emphasize the quality of interaction between the student

change agent and the farmer instead of just the movement of "messages" through a top-

down hierarchical system. Some of the functions of the module include the direct

assessment of clients' needs, user -oriented research, quality training for those in

extension work, and a strong linkage between academic education, field practice,

adapting new sustainable technologies to the local environment, and commitment to rural

community development.

The Need for Unbiased Extension

There is ongoing concern that extension systems are becoming privatized,

especially in developing countries. This is due to the lack of revenue for public services

and evidence of wasteful use of public extension resources (Evenson, 1986). In response,

those working in public extension should be aware of the opportunities for improvement

and address them. Recently, the private sector has become increasingly active in the

development and transfer of proprietary technologies, including genetic, chemical,

biological, and mechanical inputs and the commercial supply of technical information. If

the private sector is driven by a profit motive and lacks the resources to look at all aspects

of production and the environment, they may not address serious socio-economic and

resource management problems (Swanson, 1997). Nagel (2001) feels that "It is obvious

that the private sector will be active only in the case of reasonable returns and they will

not be concerned with public interest issues." Public extension, therefore, has the

opportunity to play a crucial role in taking these aspects into consideration. The selective

participation of the private sector warrants the need for public sector responsibility in the

provision of information for the public good. The collective action of public and non-









profit organizations will be essential to satisfy the needs of those in disadvantaged areas.

Private extension will be accessible only to those who can pay, neglecting many resource

poor farmers (Nagel, 2001). Public extension is necessary to reach these smallholders

free of charge, supplying them with education and innovation options for reducing the

adverse environmental effects of farming practices.

Innovation-Diffusion Theory

U.S. Extension was based on the theory that if innovative farmers were targeted to

adopt innovations, other farmers would soon follow, increasing the rate of adoption of

new agricultural practices (Stephenson, 2003). Everett Rogers, the father of this

"Innovation-Diffusion Theory", later criticized his own rationale, stating that it presented

a bias in favor of larger, wealthier farmers who were easier to persuade into adopting.

Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew (1989) agreed with this criticism, stating that rather than

"trickling down" from innovative farmers to smaller-scale farmers, technologies often

stopped with the farmers with more resources and higher environmental quality.

Chambers (1987) provides an example to substantiate this. He describes how the success

stories of hybrid rice and wheat in India and China gave the wrong impression to a

generation of scientists, that agricultural scientists knew what technology would be

beneficial for farmers in all conditions. The same varieties of crops failed on rainfed,

resource-poor farms because the innovation was actually not just the rice or wheat, but an

entirely different growing environment consisting of irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers

unattainable to the small farmers. An important lesson learned was that more productive

technologies did not ensure equitable sharing of income (Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew,

1989).









A new type of extension called Farming Systems Research-Extension (FSRE)

began to emerge that incorporated the idea that most technologies were "location

specific" and that that adaptation to cultural, agricultural, and institutional conditions

found in different locations must necessarily precede adoption (Waugh, Hildebrand &

Andrew, 1989). Due to the lack of resources characteristic of small-scale farmers, FSRE

emphasized the importance of low capital investment and low risk rather than on

maximization of production (FFTC, 1985 & Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1989).

Studies suggest that risk aversion plays an important role in slowing the adoption of

innovations (FFTC, 1985). Poorer farmers have few reserves to protect themselves in the

event of failure of an innovation. Little or no production surplus leaves a slight margin of

error, if any. Farmers assess the level of risk associated with the adoption of a technology

from the following other factors: the farmer's faith in the extension worker's competence,

previous experience with agricultural innovations, and the amount of information he /she

has received concerning the new technology (FFTC, 1985).

Some portions of Diffusion-Innovation theory are still viable while those listed

above, remain problematic. To a degree, the characteristics of the innovation, stages of

the adoption process, and the effect of interaction between farmers on adoption behavior

are considered to have maintained viability. Other issues that are considered theoretical

flaws are listed below (Stephenson, 2003):

1. Pro-Innovation Bias- implies that an innovation should be diffused and adopted by
all farmers. The acts of adopting and innovating are considered positive, while
rejecting is always unfavorable. Sometimes innovations are rejected because of
sound reasoning by the farmers.

2. Individual-Blame Bias- implies that individuals who do not adopt the innovation
are blamed for their lack of response rather than blaming the development agency
for its lack of appropriate response to farmers' needs.









3. Issues of Equality- negative impacts of the theory that had not been considered. For
example: consequences in terms of unemployment, migration of rural people,
equitable distribution of incomes, and the widening of socioeconomic gaps.

Swanson (2001) adds that extension agencies need to recognize and serve different types

of clients defined not in terms of "adopter categories" as Rogers suggests, but by their

access to markets, degree of commercialization and relative dependence on agriculture to

sustain the household in order to be effective.

Criticisms of the traditional theory also began to arise when it was applied to

international development. Goss (1979) observed the following undesirable consequences

that resulted from applying innovation diffusion theory in developing countries

(Stephenson, 2003):

* It is assumed that benefits resulting from the adoption of innovations spread and
become homogeneous. But experience from Latin America showed the gap in
inequalities actually widened.

* Aggregate statistics for development projects may show improvement in elements
like production, but commonly the farmers most in need of help received little
benefit.

* Non-adopters are affected by the diffusion of innovations process because larger
farmers increase production as a result of adopting and innovation, resulting in a
decrease in prices received by all farmers.

Extension Education

While agricultural extension in developing countries has historically been to foster

rural development by communicating knowledge to farmers, the questions of what

knowledge should be communicated, how it should be communicated, and to which

farmers it should be communicated in order to achieve effective and appropriate

innovation adoption remain issues. For years, efforts have been made to answer these

questions through what appears to be a process of trial and error.









The development paradigms emerging from the late 1930s and post WW2 period

gave rise to a conception that dominated conventional rural development for quite some

time. It consisted of a top down approach, where development was viewed as something

that governments did for or to people (International Institute for Sustainable

Development [IISD], 2003). In accordance with this ideology, programs were developed

by a centralized entity that included fixed objectives and specifications on how the

program was to be implemented by the extension agents at the local, farmer level. The

objective was to accomplish the most efficient transfer and dissemination of scientific

and technical knowledge. "Early diffusion studies assumed that adoption of an innovation

meant the exact copying or imitation of how an innovation had been used previously in a

different setting" (Rogers, 2003, p. 180).

Extension has historically considered the products of agricultural science research

as improvements, an assumption that Rogers refers to as "pro-innovation bias" (2003, p.

106). This assumption has lead to extension's promotion of innovations without properly

considering the appropriateness to the farmers and has resulted in destructive

consequences, especially for small scale farmers (Rogers, 2003). For example, in

California in 1962, a mechanized tomato harvester was introduced to farmers. Thousands

of small farmers were unable to afford the expensive harvesting machine. They were

unable to keep pace with the increased efficiency of the producers with the tomato

harvester and were consequently driven out of tomato production (Rogers, 2003).

The conventional approach to development assumed that farmers were ignorant and

lacked the abilities to understand situations, analyze them, propose solutions and evaluate

results. Consequently, a paternalistic and superior attitude was present among extension









personnel (Cristovao, Koehnen, & Portela, 1997). Participation of the farmers, who the

programs were allegedly to serve, was not a priority, if even a consideration (Cristovao,

Koehnen, & Portela, 1997). Researchers have identified this as a fault that contributed to

the failures of development to improve the lives of the majority of the poor of the

'developing' world (IISD, 2003).

Eventually, in the 1970s and '80s, a more participatory approach to development

that incorporated some insights from the field of social anthropology of the 1950s (IISD,

2003) emerged. Minjauw and Romney (1996, p. 26) noted:

Dissemination has traditionally been seen by research and extension as finding
effective ways of transferring technology, and passing on relevant, usable
information to farmers. In complex situations, where farmers need to adjust to a
changing situation-such as crop production, soil nutrient management, nutrient
health and production-this approach has been shown to be inadequate because
farmers are generally insufficiently involved in identifying problems, or in
selecting, testing and evaluating the possible solutions.

Some underlying principles of participation include rethinking the structure of

power and partnerships between development agencies, experts and farmers. An

innovation should not simply be viewed as a new technology that is delivered to a target

group; it is a new practice that is developed through an exchange of information and

through collaboration between the stakeholders (Mayoux, 2001). With greater farmer

participation, the emphasis is on a learning process where the innovation is continually

adapting to new contexts and needs. The key to meeting the needs of people and even

knowing in which direction to push more scientific research is through obtaining

feedback and responding to it. Perhaps if those who were promoting the adoption of the

hybrid varieties, in Chambers' example, had involved the farmers, both parties would

have realized early on that it was not feasible.









Farming Systems Research-Extension (FSRE) emerged as a type of applied, farmer

oriented, agrobiological research, supported by the socioeconomic sciences in a team

effort that included extension responsibilities. Rather than embracing the paternalistic

nature of previous extension efforts, this approach was centered on its flexible nature

which emphasized fitting technologies to the cultural, agricultural, and institutional

conditions found in different settings (Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew, 1989). In order to

understand the concept of "farming systems," an explanation is necessary. Farmers

work to manage the resources on their farms in a way that transforms them into useful

products either for home consumption or for sale or trade. Certain constraints direct the

farmers' decisions regarding crop and livestock enterprises and the methods and timing

of cultivation, harvesting, and husbandry. Over time, it has been found that farmers with

similar sets of resources tend to make similar choices regarding the management of their

farms. These farms can be grouped together into homogenous "farming systems," or

domains for recommendation.

Farming Systems Research-Extension places an imperative on on-farm research

because it brings farmers and researchers into contact and promotes dialogue between

them, which consequently makes the development of technologies more efficient and

appropriate (Waugh, Hildebrand & Andrew, 1989). Interestingly, the on-farm research

conducted through this type of process is carried out by research teams with much of the

same responsibilities that the student and faculty change agents are charged with in

EARTH University's Work Experience Module. FSRE research teams are responsible

for: 1) the integration of technologies into the local farming system; 2) studying

alternatives at the local level; 3) evaluating technology at the local level under real farm









conditions and with the involvement of the farmer; and 4) working in collaboration with

extension in the evaluation of the technologies.

FSRE does not consider the role of extension to simply communicate the results of

scientific research to farmers, but emphasizes the importance of the problem solving

process of education and social organization in agricultural and rural community

development (Waugh, Hildebrand, & Andrew, 1989). Other studies support the finding

that the educational process that the extension agents use to diffuse and implement

innovations is a critical component of extension services (King, 1995). This entails how

and to whom extension efforts are carried out in the process of diffusion. Barao (1992)

has identified the failure of extension organizations to recognize and address the

psychosocial component of technology adoption as part of the educational process as a

barrier to technology adoption. The adoption process involves an interrelated series of

personal, cultural, social, and situational factors (Barao, 1992). Research shows, for

example, that the opportunity to witness an investment in a technology by a fellow

producer with similar facilities and resources helps farmers in the decision-making and

guides the changes that they ultimately adopt.

Similarly, Hagmann identifies dialogue with farmers, farmer experimentation, and

the strengthening of self-organizational capacities of rural communities as the major

elements to improve development and the spreading of innovations (1996). Several types

of participatory techniques have been used, ranging from rapid rural appraisal,

participatory rural appraisal, focus groups, and structured workshops (Chamala &

Mortiss, 1990). Many of these participatory methods are utilized by FSRE

interdisciplinary on-farm research teams, whose performance depends on their dialogue









and relationship with farmers and their families in order to understand the milieu of

social/economic factors that influence the farmers' behavior (Waugh, Hildebrand, &

Andrew, 1987). Mwangi (1997) also recognizes the importance of establishing a good

rapport between the farmer and extension agent and increasing farmers' capacity for

making decisions when presented with available innovations.

Farming Systems is based on themes that were neglected in previously used

approaches to development that resulted in failure, in order to prevent undesirable

consequences and promote a research and extension process that is more responsive to

the needs of clientele through an efficient approach to development. These themes are: 1)

Mutual trust and respect. This generates confidence and removes barriers to farmer

involvement; 2) Involvement. The farmers identify their own problems and gain a sense

ownership in the process; 3) Communication. Farmers want researchers and extension

workers to know as much possible about their specific work environments, problems and

challenges; and 4) High expectations. When farmers perceive that the researchers and

extension workers understand their situation, they have higher expectations regarding the

benefits they will receive through their collaboration with researchers and extension

personnel.

Participatory methods are farmer focused. If innovation efforts have a research

focus rather than a farmer focus, the end product might not ever reach a notable level of

adoption because it does not fulfill a genuine need. For example, some innovations that

worked well in a laboratory fail in the field. Participatory approaches ensure dialogue

among all actors on the local level in order to help extension agents and researchers

understand the needs and perceptions of the farmers. Only after the rationale of the









farmers is understood will successful adoption of sustainable technology take place

(Vanclay, 1994).

Farmer Rationale

There has been considerable debate considering the rationale behind a person's

decision to adopt a new technology. Rationale is dependent upon the values of the social

system to which a person belongs. Webster has divided rationale into two types: formal

and substantive (Vanclay, 1994). Formal rationality has been considered as the explicit

calculation of economic factors in monetary terms and the subordination of all other

goals or values in life (Mooney, 1988 cited in Vanclay, 1994). It represents what the

Kwara'ae of Malatia in the Solomon Islands negatively refer to as 'ani mani capitalism',

(literally, "life determined by money"). Kwara'ae villagers view the current approach

their government has taken to rural development as one sided rather than holistic because

it stresses economic goals over social or cultural goals (Gegeo, 1998). Substantive

rationality on the other hand, is not constrained to purely formal or goal-oriented rational

calculation (Mooney, 1988 cited by Vanclay, 1994). This notion of substantive

rationality implies the legitimacy of value-oriented action.

The two forms of rationale are demonstrated practically in what the Kwara'ae

villagers perceive as the difference between business (bisnis), which employs formal

rationale and development (diflopmen), which utilizes substantive rationale. What

distinguishes one project as diflopmen and another as bisnis includes the attitudes and

goals of the adopter/ participant: for example, perceiving the implementation of a practice

or technology as something to serve the basic needs of the community and family, with

profit balanced by social goals, versus the practice as exclusively profit-oriented and the

farmer who adopted it as socially superior. The latter example is incongruent with the life









represented by the philosophy of Kwara'ae people (Gegeo, 1998). The Kwara'ae people

are living evidence that the rationale behind their decision-making is not strictly

economical.

J.D. van der Ploeg (1990, 1993) has been classifying farmers into different groups

based on the concept of farming styles. He has found that groups of farmers differ in their

notions of the most appropriate ways to farm in order to fulfill a variety of objectives

relating to environmental management, animal welfare, and farming techniques, not just

profitability (Vanclay, 1994). Research on implementation of technologies supports the

need to look beyond agricultural, biological, and economic issues towards psychosocial

factors that influence change (Barao, 1992). Traditionally, agricultural extension has been

based on the presupposition of calculation of farmers, or formal rationality. In fact, some

farmers do not adopt some innovations, which according to formal rationality, are

obviously economical, while other farmers do adopt other practices which are clearly not

economical. Therefore, it may behoove extension agents to acknowledge that much

farmer decision-making is not based upon formal rationality. Vanclay suggests that

agricultural research and extension should place more value on farmers' concerns and

opinions especially in relation to environmental management and sustainable agriculture.

Even when profitability is the main factor in deciding whether or not to adopt a

technology, some foresight into economic sustainability of the innovation may cause the

farmer to reject it. Through trial and error, farmers have also become aware that

increased production of a certain commodity (due to perhaps an agricultural innovation)

is likely to saturate local markets and lower prices even further. Higher prices may often

be available at city markets, but these are usually paid to the middleman instead of the









producer, who is frequently constrained by transportation, time, and a closed network of

dealers. Once again, a farmer's decision to reject a technology under these conditions is

a rational response (FFTC, 1985).

Conservation Technology

Studies suggest that particular attention be paid to farmer rationale in the adoption

of environmentally sound practices (Barao, 1992, Kumuk, 1995, &Vanclay, 1994). The

severity of environmental problems associated with agricultural production gives an

unprecedented imperative to extension (Vanclay, 1994). While extension or change

agencies embody an enthusiasm for and commitment to new methods of extension,

sentiment still exists that extension is not working and that farmers are reluctant to adopt

the conservation technology that is being promoted (Kumuk, 1995, & Vanclay, 1994).

Many development agencies have recently implemented new programs in Costa

Rica that have achieved minimal success. For example, a recent project to teach small

farmers to prevent soil erosion by planting trees was intended to result in wide spread

diffusion of the practice to the rest of the country. This did not occur and in fact, 80

percent of the original farmers abandoned the new practice (Sequeira, 1998). This

situation, where an innovation produces seemingly favorable results but is rejected by

small farmers, is common and often leaves development agencies puzzled. While

technological and other innovations may be a way to achieve sustainable changes that

lead to desired outcomes, often they are either rejected or abandoned by the farmers.

Rather than focusing on the adoption of a simple, single technology, the promotion

of a conservation innovation may require the adoption of systems thinking and whole

farm planning. Ethnographic Linear Programming (ELP) is a tool that embraces this

concept and allows the selection of a combination of farm and non-farm activities that is









feasible given a set of fixed farm constraints (Hildebrand & Cabrera, 2003). This method

treats the entire farm household as a livelihood system and maximizes a particular family

goal while achieving other household goals, such as food security.

The concept of the Integrated Agricultural System (IAS) requires such systems

thinking where each component takes advantage of another, using everything that is

produced as an input rather than creating waste or relying on external resources. For

example, integrated farms may produce organic fertilizer from crop and animal waste,

have a biodigester for biogas and organic fertilizer production, and have a natural water

purification system for fish production using aquatic plants that can be fed to livestock. In

order for an IAS to function, appropriate technology must be implemented and utilized.

The need for new sustainable farming alternatives acceptable to and appropriate for

small-scale farmers is a critical issue for regional and national development in Costa Rica

(Cabezas & Botero, 2001).

Resource poor farmers in Costa Rica are in constant need of renewable resources to

provide alternative sources of energy with minimum investment and environmental

impact (Singh, 2003). Worldwide recognition of ecological degradation and diminishing

natural resources has lead to the exigent focus on conservation and calls for the continued

development of sustainable technologies. The public sector of extension is encouraged to

concentrate on system-based technologies that will enable resource poor farmers to

increase their productivity while decreasing the environmental impacts of farming

practices (Swanson, 1987). This would maintain natural resources and help reduce rural

hunger, poverty, and the socio-economic costs of rapid rural-urban migration. Due to

poor farm management practices, Costa Rican farmers face dilemmas concerning animal









waste, deforestation, soil infertility, high cost of farm inputs, and others. While these

resource poor farmers are in need of sustainable technologies, efficiency of appropriate

implementation of these technologies must be achieved through the efforts of extension

agents.

Components of an Integrated Agricultural System

Congruent with their goal to help improve the quality of life of local communities,

EARTH University is promoting the use of integrated farm systems, a concept that they

view as a new way to achieve sustainable agriculture, which they have identified as a

critical issue for the region and national development (Personal Communications with Dr.

B.K. Singh on June 24, 2003). At EARTH, they refer to such systems as Integrated

Agricultural Systems (IAS), and they are usually characterized (in the region near

EARTH) by the interaction of different components such as agriculture, forest, and

animals. Pedraza and Chara (1997) explain it succinctly (as cited in Cabezas & Botero,

2001, pp. 2) in the following quotation, "In this system, each of the components takes

advantage of the other, using everything that is produced as an input. Instead of waste

(resources in the wrong place because of an inefficient use or ill-applied process) these

become inputs for another component of the system, forming a complete cycle of

resources inside the property [farm]." The IAS addresses 3 types of sustainability:

economic, environmental, and social. Economically, the farm benefits because inputs are

generated from farm outputs relieving the farmer of his/her exclusive dependency on

external resources. Environmental impacts are minimized because the use of organic

materials diminishes the use of synthetic products. Socially, an IAS provides an

alternative to farmers in order to maintain a profitable efficient farm that preserves its

resources for generations to come (Cabezas & Botero, 2001).









The researcher had the opportunity to interact with Raul Botero, a scientist and

recognized expert on Integrated Agricultural Systems, during her preliminary study at

EARTH in 2003 and in 2004. Listed below are possible components of an IAS and a

description of their potential role in the system. These components will be referred to

throughout the rest of this document.

Animals (cattle, horses, chickens, pigs). Animals are a very important component

of an integrated production system. They provide a basic source of nourishment for the

farmers, whether through production of meat, eggs, or milk. As part of an IAS, animal

manure can be used to produce organic fertilizer and fuel for energy biogas that the

farmers can cook or heat with. Birds can take advantage of forages from aquatic plants,

juice of sugarcane and earthworms. Their manure can be used to make compost to

fertilize crops.

Crops (grains, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruits, pasture). Crops are important

for human consumption, health remedies, and as forages for animals. Forage produced

by crops can be used along with molasses, vegetable oil, fiber from crop residues, urea as

a non-protein nitrogen source, salt, and lime (for adherence) to make Nutritional Blocks

to feed livestock in order to increase reproduction and milk production rates.

Forest Species Trees have a variety of uses in an IAS. They include:

augmentation of the soil with organic matter, nitrogen fixation, preventing erosion,

protection from rain, wind, and sun, the production of fruit and forages, wood for

construction and firewood, a natural habitat for animals, aesthetic benefits, conservation

of fauna and flora, and being a source for biological control of crop plagues.









Organic Fertilizer -Crop residues and animal manure are used to produce animal

fertilizer.

Effective Microorganisms (EM) EM consists of mixed cultures of beneficial and

natural occurring microorganisms that help the decomposition process of organic

materials, and during fermentation will produce normally unavailable organic acids, such

as lactic acid, acetic acid, amino acid, malic acid and bioactive substances and vitamins.

A key ingredient in this process is organic matter which is supplied by recycling crop

residues, green manures and animal manure (Retrieved November 10, 2004 from

http://www.wmnz.com).

Compost Compost is produced when organic matter is broken down by bacteria

and fungi. Compost contains an organic material called humus which assists the soil in

holding nutrients, lessens the need for chemical fertilizers and helps prevent erosion by

improving soil structure (Texas A&M University System, 1995). Improved soil structure

also helps the growth of roots which hold soil in place.

Worm Compost worms eat organic waste and transform the nutrients into a state

that is more readily used by plants.

Bokashi Dry fiber shavings are used for the bedding of corrals, stables, and pig

sties. Waste materials generated while the animals are confined (food residues and

manure) mix with the shavings. It is treated with EM and assists the composting process,

ensuring that organic waste breaks down into nutrient rich substrate. Bokashi also

reduces labor required to clean animal enclosures, and minimizes unpleasant odors, flies,

and weeds (EARTH University, 2004).









Biodigester The Biodigester is a tank that can be fed slurry of animal waste, in

which a process of bio-degradation of this organic material occurs under anaerobic

conditions. It initially produces two end products: methane biogass) and organic fertilizer.

When biogas is piped to an appropriate location, it can be burned and used as a source of

energy for such activities as cooking or incubating piglets. The solid and liquid residues

can be used as fertilizer. Residual waters increase the productivity of aquatic plants, high

in protein, that are used for animal feeding (Cabezas & Botero, 2001) and be stored in a

lagoon system. These plants are also used to decontaminate the waste water in the

lagoons, which can then be used in fish ponds. Pollutants are transformed as waste water

flows through the system creating biogas from the anaerobic fermentation process; liquid

fertilizer for food crops; providing nutrients to cultivate aquatic plants which serve as

animal forage and natural decontamination agents for the water that can subsequently

serve as a clean habitat for fish. Throughout this process, not only are energy, nutrients

and organic matter present in farm wastes being recovered, but the system also helps to

resolve problems like management of human and animal excrements that pollute the

ecosystem and promote plagues and diseases, and use of firewood that causes breathing

problems and has negative environmental impacts (FARMESA, 1996).

The Biodigester is presently in the diffusion stage throughout Latin America and is

being used to aid in the transformation of small scale farms into self-sufficient units,

where the majority of the necessary inputs to maintain the system are produced by the

system itself (Cabezas & Botero, 2001). The Biodigester is an age-old technology and

has undergone a number of adaptations as it has been introduced and modified in

Colombia, Vietnam, Africa, India, and China.









Integrated Agricultural Systems are often very visible, especially when the

biodigester is utilized. Agro-ecotourism initiatives have become prevalent in Costa Rica

and being able to present a functional IAS is perceived as a draw for visitors. Farmers in

the area have even considered having fish ponds teeming with Tilapia to provide visitors

with the option to fish. Some other examples of how components of an IAS may function

as part of Agro-ecotourism efforts include the growing and processing of medicinal

plants, making and selling soaps and shampoos, and providing meals for tourists, cooked

with biogas technology.

An IAS can easily be depicted through a diagram (Figure 2.1) that visually

represents the conversion of the outputs of one system into the inputs of another. The

arrows entering each component represent an input needed for that component and the

arrows departing from each component represent an output. Most components depend

upon inputs that were generated from another component's output. Hence, it is an

"integrated" system.
















amSH


| _I CLEAN
BIODIGESTER L WATER

AQUATIC
PLANTS

Figure 2.1. Integrated Agricultural System Model

New Role for Extension

Extension is faced with new challenges constantly. In order to remain an effective

entity, it must be flexible enough to adapt and respond to those challenges. The need for

agriculture and rural information in the form of advisory services is likely to intensify in

the foreseeable future (Garforth, 2001). Agriculture faces the challenge of keeping pace

with an increasing population and few reserves of potentially cultivable land. Extension

will remain an essential tool for promoting ecologically and socially sustainable farming

practices. Extension workers and farmers should be jointly involved in the verification

and adaptation of new technology; thus, extension workers must respect farmers as

experimenters, developers, and adapters of technology, devoting more effort on

communication with them in their local area.


I MARKET









The future will call for more able, independent, and client-oriented extension

workers who emphasize the quality of interaction between themselves and their clientele.

Issues in extension used to be centered around production efficiency; now an increasingly

complex matrix, called sustainability, that includes agriculture that is environmentally

sound, humanly safe, bureaucratically regulated, politically controlled, and strongly

influenced by world markets has been added to the agenda (Smith, 1992). At the same

time, expectations of extension agents continue to rise. They are expected to practice

more participatory methods, recognize and respect gender issues, identify indigenous

needs and help with solutions, and serve as a link to the world outside the village.

Improved Adoption of Innovations through Improved Extension Education

Recent literature suggests ways in which the educational process employed by

Extension can be altered to facilitate the appropriate implementation of sustainable

technologies. They include the following: segmenting the farm population-

communications should be tailored to all categories of farmers to promote awareness and

information (Rogers, 1995); farms should be segmented according to type, size, resources

and other characteristics, and programs should be directed specifically to these segments;

encouraging participation and appropriate technology- farmers should be involved in

problem identification, and development and implementation of innovations by including

their local knowledge (Hagmann, 1996); focusing on the tough ones- focus should be

shifted from working with wealthy innovative farmers to working with less financially

advantaged farmers (Stephenson, 2003); considering consequences- extension should be

aware of its impacts on clientele/farmers (Stephenson, 2003); encouraging systems

thinking-the adoption of environmental agricultural innovations should be promoted in a









holistic way (Vanclay, 1994); realizing that sometimes farmers have sound rationale for

opting not to adopt an innovation (Foster, 1995, Vanclay, 1994, and Barao, 1992);

developing a motivated and enthusiastic attitude toward the innovation when appropriate

(King, 1995); building mutual trust (Mwangi, 1998); establishing rapport with

stakeholders (Mwangi, 1998); being sensitive to farmers' needs, constraints, and

opportunities (Mwangi, 1998); having good technical preparation and self-confidence

(Mwangi, 1998); and being a good listener (Mwangi, 1998).

Summary

This chapter provided a foundational underpinning for the research on University-

based Extension. The chapter explained the present extension systems that are viable in

Costa Rica and posited University-based Extension, especially through EARTH

University, as a possible avenue through which to help extension programs focus on

unbiased service available to all, incorporate effective and participatory educational

principles, consider farmer rationale, and appropriately develop and implement

sustainable agricultural practices / systems. It emphasized embracing a new role for

extension in order to more effectively help farmers solve their problems.














CHAPTER 3
THE RESEARCH PROTOCOL

Introduction

This study was conducted to evaluate EARTH University's Work Experience

Module (WEM) according to the perceptions of the participants and the level of adoption

of components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) among participating farmers.

This chapter provides an overview of the research design; an in-depth analysis of each of

the areas of data collection: participants, instrumentation, data collection procedures, and

data analysis used that corresponded to each method of data collection employed. This

chapter explains how each group of participants functions in the WEM and why and how

each data collection method was utilized for each respective group to obtain the most

comprehensive data relating to the study objectives.

Research Design

The study "The Perceptions of Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding

University-based Extension: A Case Study from EARTH University, Costa Rica" is a

formative evaluation in the form of a mixed-method, correlational case study. According

to Ary (2002), case studies are appropriate when the objective is to study a very large

number of variables in great depth. This is the case. The researcher used the same

instrument to serve as both a structured interview guide to collect data from farmers, and

a census survey to collect data from students and faculty involved in the Work

Experience Module (WEM), offered through EARTH University, in 2004. Focus groups









were also conducted with the farmers and students during the final stages of data

collection.

Participants

The study participants consisted of students, faculty, and farmers. All third-year

students and faculty at EARTH University, and farmers, who participated in the 2004

WEM were targeted in order to obtain comprehensive data about the WEM. On a given

Wednesday within a 28 week period (two trimesters), half of the third-year EARTH

students worked on community projects while the other half worked directly with small

scale, resource poor farmers through the WEM. After about 14 weeks, the halves would

trade assignments. The researcher targeted all of the students, N=94 for the study.

A total of nine faculty members were involved in the WEM and asked to complete

a survey. This group included: two program chairs, one heading the program during the

first phase and the other in charge during the second phase of the 2004 WEM; five

faculty members, each of whom supervised one of the three communities (La Lucha, El

Hogar, and La Argentina) either during the first or second phase of the module; and two

support staff members who helped plan and organize the module and work directly with

the program chairs.

A total of 31 farmers from the rural communities near EARTH voluntarily

participated in the 2004 Work Experience Module and received student change agents on

their farms either during the first or second phase of the module. The researcher

interviewed a farmer from each of the households. Of the 31 farmers, 11 were from the

community La Lucha, seven were from El Hogar, and 13 farmers were from La

Argentina, the closest community to EARTH.









Instrumentation

The researcher developed the instrument according to the format utilized in the

Student Perceptions of International Involvement Programs and Activities Survey (Irani

& Place, 2004) in order to capture information related to the three specific objectives of

the WEM and principles relevant and timely to extension. The questionnaire was created

to be able to obtain information on the same concepts from three different audiences: the

farmers, faculty, and students. The instrument was submitted to the University of Florida

Institutional Review Board and was approved (Appendix G-I).

While the faculty and students were able to complete surveys, data were collected

from the farmers through interviews for two reasons. The first is that many of the

farmers were illiterate. The second is because the interview provided the opportunity for

elaboration through collateral conversations between the researcher and farmer that

helped to explain and clarify responses and capture responses that the researcher did not

anticipate and incorporate in the prepared questions. Patton (2002) recommends the use

of a structured interview when the researcher only has one chance to interview someone.

The use of a guide also conveys efficient use of the participants' time. The researcher was

the only interviewer and used consistent wording, probing, and techniques. Therefore,

error due to multiple interviewers was eliminated and the validity of the study, enhanced.

Relevant sections of the questionnaires were duplicated for each target group to be able to

compare responses between them.

Based on the researcher's experience and advice from students and faculty with

experience working with local, small-scale farmers, it was determined that a response

scale including more than 3 choices would not be effective. Therefore, the interview

guide consisted of questions based on a 3 point Likert-scale with some open-ended









questions. In order to maintain consistency for comparison, the student and faculty

surveys were also created with 3 point Likert-scales.

The structured interview guide was reviewed by a panel of experts at the University

of Florida, which consisted of faculty members and doctoral students. Slight changes in

format and choice of words were made according to recommendations. Two professors

at EARTH University also reviewed the instrument. Once in Costa Rica, persons (a

bilingual professor at EARTH University and 3 university students) that were similar to,

but not part of the study groups, were chosen to pilot test the instrument to improve the

reliability and validity of the instrument and to detect any ambiguities or other problems

before employing it. This was particularly important because the researcher's native

language was English, and she translated the instrument to Spanish. A preliminary

interview with a local farmer was also conducted using the guide. Through this process,

a few questions were removed from the original questionnaire and translations were

improved.

Focus Groups

Focus Groups were conducted with farmers and students during the final stages of

data collection to provide the opportunity for them to elaborate on the questions from the

interview/survey and to speak candidly. The focus groups were also chosen as a method

of data collection because the researcher recognized them as a way to "obtain high

quality data in a social context where people can consider their own views in the context

of the views of others" (Patterson, 2002). Krueger & Casey (2000) found that through

focus groups, interactions among participants enhance data quality because participants

provide checks and balances on each other to prevent false or extreme views. Other

benefits of focus groups include their low cost, and the fact that the extent to which there









is a relatively consistent view or great diversity of views can quickly be assessed. The

intent of the focus groups was not to find a statistical percentage or include participants

based upon their statistical respresentativeness, but to generate a list of issues,

suggestions, problems, or praises to serve as the basis for more in-depth, future research

(Patton, 2002).

Diverse, yet consistent qualitative methods derived from Barham and Sullivan's

PRA Field Manual (2002) were employed during the focus groups. If groups were large

enough (at least 6 people), the facilitators divided the large group into sub-groups for the

farmers to discuss their responses to some of the questions. This was done in order to

make people who had a tendency not to speak in a larger group more comfortable and

more apt to voice their opinions. When a similar representation of female and male

farmers was present, the facilitators also divided the group by gender to capture any

differences in responses and to provide a comfortable environment for people to express

their opinions without being overshadowed by anyone. When the groups were smaller,

questions were posed to the entire group and one facilitator would record the responses

on flip-chart paper posted on the walls.

Farmers were asked to pictorially represent their relationship with EARTH and

other entities, along with how students interact on their farms and in their communities

by drawing pictures and Venn diagrams (Appendix A and B). Farmers also had the

opportunity to spatially evaluate what EARTH was or was not accomplishing and what it

should or shouldn't be involved in by drawing dots with permanent markers where they

felt it was most appropriate on a line representing a continuum. Farmers shared the

markers so one color would not disclose a particular farmer's identity and all farmers









participated. After responses were given for each idea, question, or scenario, the

facilitators encouraged open discussion among the group members.

The student focus groups were conducted similarly, although they were not

separated by gender. In fact, when creating subgroups, the facilitators tried to have

representation of each gender in each one because some activities required each subgroup

to come up with a consensus ranking. Since students were able to write, they were also

given time to reflect on questions individually, write them down on slips of paper, pass

them in anonymously, and then the group would discuss them as the facilitator read them

aloud.

Participant Data Collection

Farmers

In order to become familiar with the field, the researcher spent a couple of weeks

accompanying faculty and students to the farm communities and updating community

maps. When possible, EARTH faculty introduced the researcher to farmers in the

community to facilitate communication, but mentioned that she was a neutral party with

no affiliation to EARTH. The researcher then hired a driver in order to go to each

household of the three communities that participated in the 2004 WEM to conduct

interviews. The researcher started with La Lucha, then El Hogar, and finished with La

Argentina. Each interview took between an hour and a half and two and a half hours.

Upon returning from each day of interviewing, the researcher transferred handwritten

notes and observations from each interview to field notes in a Word document.

A neutral, native-born Costa Rican faculty member with experience in participatory

investigation with smallholders was identified to co-facilitate focus groups with the

researcher. Through a series of meetings and planning sessions, the researcher and co-









facilitator reached a mutual initial understanding of how the focus groups would be

conducted and what the objectives were. With the help of the driver, the researcher

visited each potential site for the focus groups, and obtained permission to reserve the

facilities. This involved presenting a detailed letter describing the activity and for whom

it was held. One focus group was held at the community agriculture center and another at

the community center.

At the end of each farmer interview, the researcher asked the farmers to participate

in the focus group and described its purpose. Especially in La Lucha, the researcher had

verbal confirmation from most of the farmers that they would attend. The researcher also

sent e-mails with flyer attachments to each of the students who worked in the appropriate

communities asking them to remind their farmers of the focus group, the purpose, date,

and time. The researcher found that while some of the students remembered to tell the

farmers, the majority did not. Therefore, two days prior to the focus group, the

researcher went house by house to personally invite the farmers to the session. In El

Hogar, the researcher actually brought the flyers with her and presented them to the

farmer after the interview. Because most of the farmers were illiterate, the researcher

made the flyers very simple and asked the younger family members who could read to do

so and to remind the farmer closer to the day of the focus group. The researcher followed

the same procedure for La Argentina, but also attended an EARTH workshop with the

farmers where she had the opportunity to speak with some of the farmers and remind

them of the focus group. For each focus group, the researcher secured refreshments for

the farmers and paused for a break midway through the session in order to provide a









comfortable environment for the farmers that was conducive to their engagement in the

discussions and activities.

The co-facilitator and the researcher met after each focus group session in order to

collaborate, merge notes, translate, and discuss results.

Students

With permission from the appropriate professor, student surveys were distributed,

completed and collected during class in a 3rd year course. Surveys were distributed with

the assistance of a university student to those students who did not have that particular

class, completed at their convenience and returned directly to the researcher or via an

internal mailbox at EARTH University.

Two focus groups were held for the students. Since the participation of farmers in

the communities of El Hogar and La Lucha was smaller than that of La Argentina,

students who worked in the former two communities were combined into one focus

group. The researcher sent e-mails to all of the appropriate students to advertise the focus

groups and ask for participation. Flyers were posted, announcements about the focus

groups were made while administering the surveys, and several students assisted in

motivating other students to attend. Twelve students participated in the first focus group

and 8 participated in the second.

Faculty

The researcher visited the offices of the faculty to explain the study and ask for

their participation. The researcher asked the faculty to complete the questionnaire at their

convenience and to place it in the researcher's internal mailbox. Introductory and follow-

up e-mail messages were also sent to each of the faculty members. A professor who

collaborated in the study also sent an e-mail to his colleagues, encouraging their









participation. All surveys were administered and returned to the researcher within a

week.

Data Analysis

Data analysis consisted of coding data and entering it into a preset SPSS

quantitative analysis program. Basic descriptive statistical analysis tests were conducted

for observation of means, modes, frequencies, and standard deviation as a method of data

examination.

In order to identify consistencies or inconsistencies within groups of responses

between what their perceptions of what each role should be and what it actually was

according to their first-hand experience as participants in the module (Objectives 2 and

3), paired t-tests were run for each should be-actually was pair. Scores were assigned for

each answer (yes, maybe, no) according to a 3 pt. Likert-scale with the values of 2, 1, or

0, respectively. The measure that was analyzed was the mean difference between the

paired scores at the .05 significance level. This level of significance was chosen because

the study was exploratory rather than experimental in nature. Therefore it was more

critical to reveal any potential relationships between variables and moderately risk

making a Type II error than to be extremely conservative regarding making a Type I

error. This level of significance is accepted and commonly used in research in the social

science and education fields (Ary, 2002).

In order to investigate the possibility that the farmers' perceptions of the student

change agent affects the farmers' decisions to utilize a CIAS, the researcher conducted

quantitative statistical tests. First, the researcher used a data reduction technique through

SPSS statistical software to test the reliability of aggregating like questions into three

different constructs: knowledge, participation, and interpersonal characteristics.









Chronbach's Alpha was used to test the strength of each construct. Crosstabs analyses

was used to generate contingency tables for adoption variables and each of the constructs.

Then, Chi-squared values were used to determine if an association existed at p > .05

between the adoption variables and the questions corresponding to each construct.

Qualitative data from the interviews and focus groups were checked for quality and

consistency by the researcher through discussing results and preliminary findings with

faculty and students at EARTH. The qualitative data were checked an additional time for

completeness and accuracy and then entered into a Word document and categorized for

subsequent content analysis. Content analysis is defined by Patton (2002, pp. 453) as

"any qualitative data reduction and sense-making effort that takes a volume of qualitative

material and attempts to identify core consistencies and meanings." Findings included

major and minor themes that were used to clarify and / or substantiate findings revealed

via the scaled questions from the interview guide.

Summary

This chapter provided an in-depth description of the protocol utilized for this study,

which employed two primary data collection procedures: questionnaires were completed

either through serving as a guide for farmer interviews or as an administered survey to

students and faculty, and focus groups were conducted.

This chapter explained in detail, the steps and procedures utilized for the design

and implementation of the study, and the analysis of the findings. Primary findings were

via the participant questionnaire used as a survey or in the individual farmer interviews.

Findings obtained via collateral conversations during individual farmer interviews and

focus groups conducted with students and farmers provided richness, and breadth to the






53


questionnaire data. Steps taken to minimize sources of bias within data collection were

also noted. The following chapter of this thesis reveals the results of the study.














CHAPTER 4
RESEARCH RESULTS

Overview of the Chapter

This chapter provides comprehensive results of the case study "The Perceptions of

Farmers, Students, and Faculty Regarding University-based Extension: A Case Study

from EARTH University, Costa Rica." The results are presented within the context of

the five study objectives. This chapter is organized according to the results, first

quantitative, then qualitative, associated with each objective. The qualitative data

included in this chapter represents common themes mentioned frequently by the farmers

and students that provide insight for interpreting the quantitative results.

There were two basic data collection procedures employed to achieve the

objectives. The first was a quantitative questionnaire used both as a structured interview

guide with the farmers and as a census survey for the students and faculty. Focus groups,

among students and farmers, were utilized as the second data collection procedure.

Findings obtained via both the collateral conversations during individual farmer

interviews and focus groups conducted with students and farmers provided richness and

breadth to the results obtained via the questionnaire.

To provide a better understanding of each group of respondents, the following

demographic information was derived using basic descriptive statistics.

Students

A total of 81 students were surveyed. They had participated in the 2004 WEM, and

worked in one of the three communities near EARTH (La Lucha, El Hogar, or La






55


Argentina) either during the first or second phase of the module. The majority of the 81

students involved in the WEM were male (66.7%). Students' countries of origins and

ages are reported as well in Table 4-1.

Faculty

A total of 9 faculty members were surveyed. They were asked in which of the 3

communities they had experience working with as part of the WEM, how long they have

worked at EARTH University, how long they have been involved with the WEM, and

their ages (Table 4-2).






56


Table 4-1. Demographic Characteristics of Students in the 2004 WEM
Characteristic No. of Students Percent

Country of Origin
Belize 1 1.2
Bolivia 1 1.2
Dominican Republic 1 1.2
Paraguay 1 1.2
Uganda 1 1.2
Venezuela 1 1.2
El Salvador 2 2.5
Mexico 3 3.7
Panama 3 3.7
Brazil 4 3.7
Guatemala 4 4.9
Colombia 7 8.6
Honduras 7 8.6
Nicaragua 7 8.6
Ecuador 10 12.3
Costa Rica 19 23.5
81 100.0
Age
19 3 4.2
20 22 30.6
21 15 20.8
22 15 20.8
23 6 8.3
24 4 5.6
25 4 5.6
26 2 2.8
27 0 0.0
28 1 1.4
721 100.0

Gender
Female 25 33.3
Male 50 66.7
752 100.0

1 Nine responses were missing for this item.
2 Six responses were missing for this item.






57


Table 4-2. Demographic Characteristics of Faculty in the 2004 WEM
Characteristic No. of Faculty Members Percent

Age (years)
26-30 1 11.1
31-35 3 33.3
36-40 3 33.3
46-50 1 11.1
51-55 1 11.1
9 100.0

Time at EARTH (years)
< 1 1 11.1
1-3 4 44.4
4-6 0 0.0
7-9 2 22.2
10-12 2 22.2
9 100.0

Time involved with WEM
<1 3 33.3
1-3 3 33.3
4-6 0 0.0
7-9 3 33.3
9.0 100.0

Experience in Communities
La Lucha (L) only 2 22.2
El Hogar (H) only 0 0.0
La Argentina (A) only 1 11.1
L&H 0 0.0
L&A 0 0.0
H&A 1 11.1
L&H&A 5 55.5
9 100.0

Gender
Female 2 22.2
Male 7 77.7
9 100.0









Farmers

A total of 31 farmers from the rural communities near EARTH participated in the

2004 Work Experience Module and received student change agents on their farms either

during the first or second phase of the module. The researcher interviewed a farmer from

each of the households. Of the 31 farmers, 11 were from the community La Lucha, 7

were from El Hogar, and 13 farmers were from La Argentina, the closest community to

EARTH. The majority of farmers interviewed were male (19), 10 were female, and the

researcher interviewed the husband and the wife together in two households. The

responses from the couples were decided consensually between the husband and wife.

Table 4-3 shows the age distribution of the farmers and the number of members each

household contained. The majority (51.6%) of the farmers had between 4-7 people living

on the farm more than 6 months of the year. Eight farmers had between 1-5 hectares of

land; 7 farmers had between 6-10 hectares; 5 farmers had between 11-15 hectares; 4

farmers had between 16-20 hectares; 4 farmers had between 27-40 hectares; and 3

farmers had between 60-80 hectares. Half of the farmers interviewed indicated that they

had another source of income apart from the farm, while the other half indicated that they

did not. Most of the farmers reported having the title to their land (83.8%).






59


Table 4-3. Demographic Characteristics of Farmers and Households in the 2004 WEM
Characteristic No. of Farmers Percent


Age (years)
26-35
36-45
46-55
56-65
66-75
76-85


No. Members of Household


Gender
Female
Male
Couple


16.1
29.0
25.8
12.9
12.9
3.2
100.0

3.2
25.8
12.9
12.9
12.9
16.1
9.7
6.5
100.0


32.3
61.3
6.4
100.0


Objective 1. To Identify Factors Affecting the Farmers' Decisions to Utilize

Components of an Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS) by:

* identifying components of an integrated agricultural system being utilized on each
farm

* identifying the source from which the farmer became aware and learned about the
component of an Integrated Agricultural System

* identifying the farmer's reasons for adopting, rejecting, or discontinuing the use of
a component of an Integrated Agricultural Systems

* determining if a relationship exists between the adoption of components of an
Integrated Agricultural System and household characteristics such as farmer
gender, and availability of resources (such as land, labor, economic, and other)









Identifying Components of an Integrated Agricultural System Utilized on Each Farm

A total of 31 farmers from the rural communities near EARTH participated in the

2004 Work Experience Module and received student change agents on their farms.

Currently, the most widely used CIAS that are being promoted by EARTH

University among the farmers who participated in the 2004 Work Experience Module

were determined to be (number of farmers who are utilizing the practice): Forest Species

(29), Medicinal Plants (24), the Biodigester (11), different types of Compost (11), Agro-

ecotourism Preparations (11), and Fish Lagoons (10) (Table 4-4).

Farmer Animal Resources

During the structured interviews, the 31 farmers were asked what kinds of animals

they had on their farm. A variety of animals were mentioned and the frequency and

percentage distribution of farmers having each type of animal is shown in Tables 4.5-4.8.

Twenty-three of all farmers interviewed (74.2%) had cattle, 25 farmers had chickens

(80.6%) and the majority of the farmers had at least one horse (51.6%).

Types of Plants

All 31 farmers were asked to indicate whether or not they had each of the plant

types listed in Table 4-9 on their farm. Most farmers had vegetables, fruit, medicinal

plants and natural pasture (83.8%, 67.7%, 64.5%, and 51.6%, respectively). Only two

farmers indicated having grain crops.

Frequency / Percentage Distribution and Reported Purposes of Forest Species

Twenty-nine of the 31 farmers reported having forest species (both natural and

planted) on their farms, and 72.4% of these reported that they had planted trees (Table 4-

10). The 29 farmers listed a total of 16 different types of trees and Cedro, Laurel,

Chancho Blanco, Almendro, and Pilon were the most popular. Then, the 29 farmers were






61


asked to free-list the purposes that the trees serve on their farm (Table 4-11). The reasons

for having trees that were listed most frequently were for: lumber, protection of flora and

fauna, and augmenting the organic matter in the soil (24.5%, 20.2%, and 12.8%,

respectively). The farmers also showed an interest in having trees for the following

purposes: to decrease erosion, to provide animal habitat and for aesthetics.












Table 4-4. Farmer Reported Behavior regarding Components of an Integrated Agricultural System*
Alternative Agriculture Total No. of Farmers who Implemented Farmers who Rejected Farmers who Discontinued
Practice / System Farmers Practice Practice Practice
N n % n % n %
Biodigester 31 11 35.5 19 61.3 1 3.2
Nutritional Blocks 31 4 12.9 25 80.6 2 6.4
Traditional
Traditional 31 11 35.5 18 58.1 2 6.4
Compost
Worm
WCompos31 6 54.5 16 51.6 9 29.0
Compost
Bokashi 31 4 12.9 27 87.1 0 0.0
Fish Lagoons 31 11 35.5 18 58.1 2 6.4
Decontami-nation
Decontami-nation 31 3 9.7 28 90.3 0 0.0
Lagoons
Medicinal Plants 31 24 77.4 7 22.6 0 0.0
Forest Species 31 29 93.5 2 6.4 0 0.0
Agro-ecotourism 31 11 35.5 20 62.5 0 0.0
Preparations
Effective
Effective 31 10 32.3 19 61.3 2 6.4
Microorganisms
* Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason









Table 4-5. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Cattle
Number of Head of
Cattle Frequency Percent
1-5 6 26.1
6-15 6 26.1
16-25 3 13.0
26-35 2 8.7
36-45 2 8.7
46-55 1 4.4
>55 3 13.0
23 100

Table 4.6. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Chickens
Number of Chickens Frequency Percent
1-10 10 40.0
11-20 5 20.0
21-30 2 8.0
31-40 3 12.0
41-50 2 8.0
51-120 2 8.0
5000 1 4.0
25 100

Table 4-7. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Pigs
Number of Pigs Frequency Percent
1-3 6 42.9
4-6 2 14.3
7-9 1 7.1
10-12 1 7.1
13-15 1 7.1
16-18 1 7.1
19-21
22-24 1 7.1
100 1 7.1
14 100

Table 4-8. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers with Horses
Number of Horses Frequency Percent
1 6 37.5
2 6 37.5
3 2 12.5
4 1 6.3
>4 1 6.3
16 100









Table 4.9. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Farmers Growing Plants
Type of Plants Frequency Percent
Grains 2 6.5
Vegetables 26 83.8
Fruit 21 67.7
Natural pasture 16 51.6
Improved Pasture 11 35.5
Ornamental Plants 15 48.4
Medicinal Plants 20 64.5
31*
*N=31 farmers. All 31 farmers were asked whether or not they had the respective
plant type on their farm.

Table 4.10. Frequency and Distribution of Farmers with Forest Species
Type* Frequency Percent
Natural 8 27.6
Planted 21 72.4
Total 29 100.0

Cedro 18 62.1
Laurel 17 58.6
Chancho Blanco 8 27.6
Amendro 6 20.7
Pilon 6 20.7
*Cedro, Laurel, Chanco Blanco, Almendro, and Pilon were the most frequently listed forest
species; Percent refers to how the percent of the 29 farmers who have trees of the named
type.









Table 4-11. Frequency and Distribution of Purposes for having Forest Species
Purpose* Frequency Percent
Fruit 2 2.1
Wood 23 24.5
Protection from sun,
wind, rain 4 4.3
Augment organic
matter in soil 12 12.8
Increase Nitrogen
fixation 1 1.1
Decrease erosion 7 7.4
Protect Flora and Fauna 19 20.2
Combat natural plagues 2 2.1
For animals (habitat) 7 7.4
Aesthetics 7 7.4
Sell wood 1 1.1
Make and sell furniture 1 1.1
Substitute for paying a 1 1.1
fine
Reforestation 3 3.19
Protect river and 2 2.1
springs
Protect ornamental 1 1.1
plants
Tourism 1 1.1
94 100
*All farmers who had forest species were asked to free list purposes) the trees
serve on their farms. N = the total number of purposes listed.

Lagoons

Nine of the 31 farmers reported having fish ponds, or 'fish lagoons' (29.0%).

Aquatic plants and the nutrients found in waste effluent were being promoted as

decontamination and waste management components of an Integrated Agriculture System

(IAS) by EARTH. Farmers with fish lagoons were asked what they were using as fish

food. Most of the farmers reported using fish food concentrate that they had to purchase

commercially while others mentioned aquatic plants and waste (57.1%, 21.4% and 21.4%,

respectively). Types of feed could be listed in combination. Only 2 of the 31 farmers had

lagoons without fish. Their reported purpose of the lagoons were for waste management, to









cultivate aquatic plants, and to have a place to collect liquid fertilizer from waste effluent to

use to irrigate the crops.

The Biodigester

Eleven of the farmers (N=31) reported using the biodigester (35.5%). Of these,

81.8% kept the technology under cover. When asked what they do with the effluent from

the biodigester, 81.8% of the farmers answered that they apply it directly to the land as

fertilizer. The remaining 18.2% of farmers reported first collecting the effluent in a lagoon

(Table 4-12).

Nutritional Blocks

Only four of the 31 farmers (12.9%) reported using Nutritional Blocks. Of these,

100.0% perceived the benefits of this practice to be an increase in calving rate, and an

increase in milk and meat production.

Compost

Eleven of the 31 farmers (35.5%) utilized compost on their farms. Of these, 45.5%

reported using only Worm Compost, 27.3% only Bokashi, 9% Worm Compost and

Bokashi, and 18% Traditional Compost.

Table 4-12 Frequency and Percentage Distribution for Biodigester purposes
Purpose* Frequency Percent
Gas 11 29.7
Heat 5 13.5
Mitigate Flies 5 13.5
Mitigate foul odor 5 13.5
Produce Fertilizer 10 27.0
Pasteruization 1 2.7
37 100
*All farmers who had the biodigester were asked to free list purposes) the biodigester
was serving on their farms. N = the total number of purposes listed.









Source of Information on Components of an Integrated Agricultural Systems

During the structured interviews, the researcher asked the farmer to free-list the

sources (if any) from which they had become aware or received information on each of the

eleven components of an IAS If the farmers had no knowledge of the practice, no sources

were listed. Equally, if a farmer recalled receiving information about the practice from a

variety of sources, they were asked to name each as they came to mind, with no specific

order. Of all the sources listed by farmers for each practice, the percentage of the responses

that named each respective source is reported in Table 4-13.

EARTH University students and faculty were revealed, with a few exceptions, as the

overall primary source of information about the eleven components of an IAS (Table 4-13).

Sources from which information about the Biodigester was obtained were named 58 times.

Of these, EARTH faculty was the source mentioned most frequently, representing 41.4% of

all responses. This is the only technology for which EARTH faculty represented the

majority of the sources named. Usually the EARTH faculty represents the second most

frequently named source, following EARTH students as the main source. EARTH students

represented a close 39.6% of the sources mentioned, followed by "neighbors" representing

only 8.6%.

While EARTH students and faculty dominated the responses for Nutritional Blocks,

"family" and "church" were also named, followed by Japdeva, INA, and CEDECO.

Results were similar for Traditional Compost with the following sources named (in order of

decreasing frequency): EARTH students and faculty, INA, MAG, church, family, and

CEDECO. Data reveal that "neighbors" were the main source of information for the

farmers about Fish Lagoons. They also named (in order of decreasing frequency): EARTH

students, faculty, family, Japdeva, and Traditional Knowledge.









While EARTH students and faculty were the most popular source mentioned for

Decontamination Lagoons, a notable 11.9% of responses named "neighbors" and 9.5%

named Traditional Knowledge (Table 4-13). Traditional Knowledge was listed almost as

frequently as EARTH students (20.0%, 26.7%) as a source of information about Medicinal

Plants. EARTH faculty, neighbors, and publications were also named as sources.

Traditional Knowledge was named as a source of information regarding Forest Species,

following EARTH students and faculty. Farmers named EARTH faculty and students as

their main sources for the following practices, with little or no mention of any other

sources: Worm compost, Bokashi, Agro-ecotourism Preparations, and Effective

Microorganisms.

Knowledge, Practice, and Dissemination of the "Integrated Agricultural System"

All 31 farmers were asked the questions listed in Table 4-10. A strong majority

answered each of these questions affirmatively according to their perceptions. Most

farmers had heard the term "Integrated Agricultural System" before, felt that the students

were promoting that type of system, and considered their farm to be an "Integrated

Agriculture System." Seventy-one percent of farmers interviewed reported that they had

taught or shared new knowledge, information, or ideas with other farmers. Each farmer

that answered affirmatively (22 of the 31 farmers) was then asked to elaborate by

specifying what information they shared. Nineteen out of a total of 30 topics listed were

alternative agriculture practices identified by this study as being promoted by EARTH

University. The most frequent topic listed was "organic fertilizer" (23.3%), followed by

"the biodigester" (16.2%). Of alternative agriculture practices, the following were also

mentioned once: "bokashi," "conservation efforts," "construction design in the kitchen with

the biodigester," "planting trees" or "reforestation," "waste management," "worm






69


compost," and "biofermentation." Of those practices not specifically being promoted by

EARTH as part of an Integrated Agriculture System, "precision agriculture" was

mentioned twice and the rest once: "improved bovine genetics," "bottle and sell clean

water," "bovine nutrition," "pasture," "palmito," "coffee," "making cheese /

pasteurization," "protein bank," and "medicine for chickens."












Table 4-13. Sources of Information about each Component of an Integrated Agricultural System
Source
Government
Alternative Organizations
Agricultural (Ministry of
Practice / Agriculture / EARTH EARTH
System Na Natural Resources) Neighbor Faculty Students Church Family JAPDEVA


Biodigester

Nutritional
Blocks

Traditional
Compost

Worm
Compost

Bokashi

Fish Lagoons

Decontami-
nation Lagoons

Medicinal Plants


41.4


4.76


28.2


11.9


37.7


36.5


46.0

15.38


35.71


17.8


39.6


50.0


49.1


55.8


48.0

25.64


38.1


26.7


23.8


1.9


1.92


2.56


1.9


1.92


5.13


5.13


Forest Species 52 3.8 1.9 28.8 32.7


Forest Species 52 3.8


1.9 28.8 32.7












Table 4-13. Continued
Source
Government
Alternative Organizations
Agricultural (Ministry of
Practice / Agriculture / EARTH EARTH
System Na Natural Resources) Neighbor Faculty Students Church Family JAPDEVA
Agro-ecotourism 24 41.7 45.8
Preparations

Effective
Efec47 46.8 48.9
Microorganisms
Source


Alternative
Agricultural
Practice / System
Biodigester


NGO


INA


TEC


Publication


Traditional
CEDECO Knowledge


ANDAR OTHERb


58 -- 1.72 -


Nutritional
Blocks

Traditional
Compost

Worm
Compost


23.8


23.8


Bokashi 50 2.0- -













Table 4-13. Continued
Source
Alternative
Agricultural Traditional
Practice / System Na NGO INA TEC Publication CEDECO Knowledge ANDAR OTHERb
Fish Lagoons 39 -2.6 -- -5.13 2

Decontam-
ination 42 2.4 -9.5
Lagoons

Medicinal Plants 45 2.2 2.2 2.2 8.9 20.0 4.4 3,4

Forest Species 52 3.8 1.9 1.9 19.2 -5,6

Agro-eco-
tourism 24 -7,
Preparation

Effective 9
Micro47 2.1
Microorganisms


a All 31 farmers were asked to free list the sources (if any) from
agriculture practice/system.
b These reasons were listed once or twice
N = the total number of responses for each practice/system.
1 SUPAS (Union of livestock producers in the Atlantic region)
2 Taiwanese
3CEFCA, UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educaci6n a Distancia)
5 Code Forsa de San Carlos, 6 COES
7 Agro-ecotourism group of San Jose, 8 Agro-ecotourism group of Guacimo
9Makes own


Which they have received information pertaining to each alternative












Table 4-14. Integrated Agricultural System Knowledge / Dissemination
Question N % Yes % No

Have you heard the term "Integrated 31 77.4 22.6
Agricultural System"?

Did the students promote this type of 31 87.1 12.9
system?

Would you consider your farm to be an
31 58.1 41.9
integrated farm system?

Have you taught or shared new knowledge,
practices, information or ideas with other 31 71.0 29.0
farmers?









Farmer Reasons for Adopting, Rejecting, or Discontinuing Use of a CIAS

Reasons for Not Implementing Practice

Of the 31 farmers, those who did not adopt each of the practices were asked to free-

list the reasons) why they decided not to adopt it. The percentage representing how

frequently each reason was named per practice is reported in Table 4-15. Each practice

had at least 2 non-adopters.

Nineteen (61.3 percent) of the 31 farmers did not adopt the biodigester (Table 4-4).

The most frequently mentioned reasons that farmers reported for not implementing the

biodigester were (in order of decreasing frequency): cost, representing 22.2% of

responses; not having gotten "around to it yet" because it was not a priority; and not

having sufficient animals to produce waste for bio-fuel. Reasons for not implementing

the innovation unique to the biodigester were: 1. the kitchen was too far from the corral

and 2. the woman of the household prefers not to cook with the gas from the biodigester.

Twenty-five (80.6%) of the 31 farmers did not adopt Nutritional Blocks. The

reason mentioned most often that prevented farmers from making and using this

innovation was simply because they did not own livestock. There was also a lack of

understanding of the purpose and information about Nutritional Blocks. Some farmers

that did understand the purpose and how to make them opted not to because the process

was too time consuming. Reported reasons not to adopt that were unique to the

Nutritional Blocks were: 1. they were not necessary because using other feed

supplementation, and 2. they lack the machine used to harvest crop residues (a main

ingredient in the Nutritional Blocks).

Eighteen of the 31 farmers (58.1%) decided not to use traditional compost and 16

farmers (51.6%) opted not to use worm compost. Both types of compost were found to









be time consuming. The most common response regarding traditional compost was that

it did not fit as an appropriate component in their farm system, denoted as "Fit into

System" (Table 4-15). One farmer is not using the traditional or worm compost because

he/she prefers and is using Bokashi, another alternative agriculture practice being

diffused by EARTH. Farmers reported that they end up applying waste directly to the

land as fertilizer instead of in the form of compost because the process takes too long.

Another deterrent from using worm compost was not knowing "how to use" the practice.

Twenty-seven of the 31 farmers (87.1%) reported not ever using Bokashi. The most

common reason listed was that it failed to fit into the farm system followed by the

complaint that it was time consuming. Other reasons were: 1. it is not necessary because

I'm using my own effective microorganism, and 2. the material to make Bokashi is too

difficult to obtain.

Topography was exceedingly the most frequent reason named by 18 of the 31

farmers for not implementing Fish Lagoons. Cost was the next frequently mentioned

reason. Other reasons were: 1. the water is not clean and 2. there is not enough water. A

strong majority of responses named "Fit into System" as a reason not to implement












Table 4-15. Farmer Reasons for Not Implementing the Component of an Integrated Agricultural System
Reasons for Not Implementing Practice*
Alternative Agricultural Labor Time No
Practice / System Na Cost Intensive Consuming Interest Farm Size Topography Animals

Biodigester 27 22.2 7.4 3.7 -11.1 14.8

Nutritional Blocks 43 2.3 2.3 13.9 2.3 18.6


Traditional
Compost

Worm
Compost

Bokashi

Fish Lagoons

Decontamination Lagoons

Medicinal Plants

Forest Species

Agro-ecotourism
Preparation (AETP)

Effective Microorganisms


35 2.9


31 6.5


7.8

19.2

10.2


11.4


16.1


10.9

7.7

4.1

6.2


9.7


3.1

3.8



37.5


1.6

26.9


20.0


39.5


38 2.6 2.6 2.6


38 2.6


2.6 2.6













Table 4-15. Continued
Reasons for Not Implementing Practice
Alternative
Agriculture
Practice / How to Fit into No River
System Na use Purpose System Function Priority Information floods OTHERb
Biodigester 27 11.1 18.5 3.7 1,2
Nutritional 43 9.3 9.3 11.6 -7.0 11.6
Blocks
Traditional 5 6
Traditional 35 11.4 8.6 17.1 11.4 8.6 2.9 5,6
Compost
Worm
Worm31 12.9 6.5 12.9 3.2 6.5 6.5
Compost
Bokashi 64 9.4 7.8 12.5 1.6 4.7 6.2 1.6 7,8
Fish Lagoons 26 3.8 11.5 3.8 7.7 9,10
Decontamination 5,6,
oons 49 6.1 8.2 28.6 -4.1 6.1 2.0 11t
Lagoons
Medicinal Plants 16 18.7 12.5 6.2 12.5 6.2
Forest Species 5 20.0 20.0 -- 20.0 20.0
AETP 38 2.6 2.6 28.9 2.6 7.9 12
E.M. 38 26.3 26.3 5.3 2.6 21.0 7,13
a All farmers who were not or had not previously implemented the practice were asked to free list the reasons (if any) why they decided not to adopt it.
b These reasons were listed once or twice
N = the total number of responses for each practice/system.
* Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason
Kitchen too far from corral, Don't want to cook with gas
3 Not necessary because using other supplements or the grass is rich enough,4 Need a picadora
SPrefers to use Bokashi, applies waste directly to the land as fertilizer
7 Not necessary because using own microorganisms, 8 Difficult to obtain material to make Bokashi
9 Water not clean, 10 Not enough water
11Not necessary because waste management isn't a problem* 10.2%
12 Don't want visitors
13Nobody brought it to the farm for the farmer to try it out









Decontamination Lagoons. It was also viewed as too expensive. A noteworthy,

10.2% of responses reported that the Decontamination Lagoons were not necessary because

"waste management is not a problem."

Only 7 of the 31 farmers reported not having medicinal plants. Most of these stated

that they had no interest in them.

Twenty-nine of the farmers reported having Forest Species on their farms, (93.5%);

21 of these planted the trees. (Table 4-15). There were only 5 responses given for not

having / planting trees because most of the farmers had planted them. The 5 responses

were reported with equal frequencies and named "Topography," "How to Use," "Purpose,"

"No Information," and "River Floods" as the reasons.

From among the farmers who reported not implementing Agro-ecotourism

Preparations (64.5%)( Table 4-4), the most frequent reason given was "No Interest." This

question also revealed that some farmers specifically did not want visitors on their property.

Nineteen of the 31 farmers have never used Effective Microorganisms. Of these, the

most frequently reported reason was that it did not fit into the farm system. They also did

not use this innovation because they lacked information about it and "nobody brought it to

the farm for us to try it out."

The practices that farmers tended to reject were the following (in decreasing order):

Decontamination Lagoons (90.3%), Bokashi (87.1%), and Nutritional Blocks (80.6%).

Reasons for Discontinuing Practices

Of the 31 farmers interviewed, those who had adopted a practice / system but later

rejected it were asked to free list the reasons) why they discontinued its use. Instances of

discontinuance were only reported on the following 6 practices: Worm Compost,

Traditional Compost, Nutritional Blocks, Effective Microorganisms, and the Biodigester.









Rate of discontinuance was highest for Worm Compost and lowest for the

Biodigester. Nine farmers discontinued using Worm Compost for a number of functionality

issues (Table 4-16). The "Wooden Crate" was a problem because ants were able to crawl

through the cracks and reportedly ate the worms. Other noteworthy problems causing

discontinuance among practices were that farmers stopped using the practice when the

student change agents left; and the topography of the land, including the river flooding.

Other Potential Factors Affecting a Farmer's Decision to Utilize CIAS

Due to the nature of most of the alternative agriculture systems and practices being

promoted by EARTH, it is logical to assume that farmers with animals might have a higher

tendency to adopt certain innovations. For example, the Biodigester can only function with

the input of human or animal waste; Nutritional Blocks are intended for livestock, and

bokashi results from a composting process intended for the management of animal waste.













Table 4-16. Farmer Reasons for Discontinuance of Components of an Integrated Agricultural System*
Reasons for Discontinuance
Alternative
Agriculture
Practice /
System Na Reason %b Reason % Reason % Reason % Reason %
Biodigester Didn't
1 Function 100.0 -
Correctly
Nutritional E 2 Time 0 Student 5
Bok 2 Expensive 25.0 25.0 ef 50.0
Blocks Consuming Left
Traditional 2 Size of the 25.0 Not enough 50.0 Student 25.0
Compost farm resources Left
Time
6.7
Consuming
Labor Didn't Function Worms Wooden Topography 6.7
Worm Compost 9 13.3 26.7 i 26.7 6.7
Intensive Correctly Died1 Crate Doesn't Fit 6.7
w/System
River Floods 6.7
Fish Lagoons Didn't R
2 Function 33.3 Topography 33.3 Floods 33.3
Floods
Correctly
Effective Used up supply
2 om 50.0 brought by 50.0
animals
Microorganisms students
* Values refer to the percentage of all responses that corresponds to each reason
a Number of farmers who discontinued use
b Each % sign represents the percentage that the previous reason was listed out of all of the reasons mentioned
11/4 of the worms were reported to have been eaten by birds, % by ants, and 12 of the respondents didn't give a reason.









Therefore, a contingency table was used to generate a Chi-squared value to test if a

relationship existed between having either pigs, chickens, horses, or cows and adopting any

of the CIAS. A significant Chi-squared value was not derived and sufficient evidence did

not exist to indicate a relationship between the variables.

The researcher generated Chi-squared values for each of the following demographic

variables and the level of adoption for each of the practices: number of people in the

household, the gender of the farmer, the size of the farm (in terms of hectares), whether or

not the household was receiving outside income, and in which community the farmer lived.

Chi-squared values revealed that a relationship exists between farmers who reside in the

community, La Argentina, and their adoption behavior of Agro-ecotourism Preparations (p

< .001). There was no other statistically significant evidence suggesting a relationship

between the other variables.

Trends by Community

Through comparison of adoption behavior between communities, some trends

became apparent (Table 4-17.). The farmers of La Argentina demonstrate a higher level of

adoption of components of an IAS (CIAS) than do the farmers of El Hogar and La Lucha

(Table 4-17).

La Argentina

The maximum number of CIAS adopted by any one farmer occurred in La Argentina

(8 practices). Two other farmers adopted 7 different practices, 6 farmers adopted 4

practices, and 4 farmers adopted 3 practices. The mean number of practices adopted is 4.5

and the mode is 6, n=13.









El Hogar

The maximum number of CIAS adopted by a farmer in El Hogar is 6. Two farmers

adopted 5 different practices, 1 adopted 4 practices, and 1 adopted 3. The mean number of

practices adopted is 3.7 and the mode is 5, n=7.

La Lucha

The maximum number of practices adopted in La Lucha is 5. One farmer adopted 5

different practices, 1 farmer adopted 4 different practices, and 3 farmers adopted 3 different

practices. The mean number of practices adopted is 2.6, and the mode is 2, n=l 1.

Table 4-17. Comparing Levels of Adoption of CIAS by Community
Maximum No. Mean No. of Mode No. of
Community N of Practices Practices Practices
Adopted Adopted Adopted
La Argentina 13 8 4.5 6
El Hogar 7 6 3.7 5
La Lucha 11 5 2.6 2

Qualitative Findings from Farmer Interviews

During the interviews, farmers provided examples to substantiate their responses to

the researcher's questions and elaborated on topics of interest to them. The following

findings represent the common themes that emerged from conversations between the

farmer and researcher during the interviews. This information may provide a better

understanding of the farmers' perceptions and their reasoning behind the responses, as well

as illuminate important issues that were unanticipated and not included in the structured

interview guide.

Farmer Interview Findings: Objective 1

As one farmer put it, "Certain characteristics of the farm make it possible or

appropriate to install a technology while others don't." Many farmers reported that they did

not have sufficient animals (or animals kept in an enclosed area where the waste could be









collected to supply the biodigester with fuel) to adopt the biodigester. Nutritional Blocks

were also often rejected because people did not have the animals, but often, it was also

because they were unaware of the purpose of the blocks. When the animals were kept in

the pasture, farmers claimed that they could not easily take the time to collect waste for

compost. Therefore, they felt that they did not have the material necessary to prepare

compost. Often, farmers didn't realize that compost could be made from crop residues,

kitchen scraps, chicken litter, etc. Farmers also mentioned that the work and time it would

take to prepare the compost and then wait for weeks until it could be used as fertilizer

"wasn't worth it" or "no vale lapena" either, especially when the farm was small.

Therefore, the response that it did not fit with the needs of the farm was also reported. The

resources that were lacking included the size of the farm, animals to produce enough waste,

or a system that allowed easy collection of the waste.

Another factor to mention is the farmers' commitment to their "mapafuturo" or

future map, a vision created by the farmer and an EARTH students) of their farm in the

future. The ideas were generated usually with the first students that ever worked on the

farms and the farmers and students are still committed to implementing these ideas.

Farmers are usually very committed to their mapa futures. Take for instance, this excerpt

from the researcher's field notes:

The most interesting thing about my visit to this farm (Finca Maria Jose) is that I
could compare what I saw to my visit there the previous year. I was amazed. I
remembered discussing plans to make a soccer field, install bathrooms and a little
restaurant for tourists, etc. When I arrived, I quickly saw that those plans had quickly
been brought to fruition. I was impressed. This woman is extremely motivated and
she was embracing the idea of agro-ecotourism. She is an example of when the mapa
future works! She has stuck to her vision of the ideal farm and was accomplishing it.

On one hand, it is a good way to follow through on the projects... on the other hand,

some farmers have reported that they feel like they must accomplish the ideas on the map









before making other changes to the farm that are not included in the map. It sounds

therefore like it might inhibit their creativity or independence.

One common sentiment among the farmers was that while they were in favor of

experimenting and making behavioral and practice changes, many times it was impractical

due to the high risk and monetary cost involved. As one farmer expressed, "I would like to

implement the ideas the students and I come up with but it's too expensive." One farmer

suggested, "The university should provide ways to obtain resources in order to be able to do

more projects and experiments because it is expensive."

Sometimes, the farmers will only use an innovation if the students bring it to them to

try, or if it is free and requires no investment, no risk This is very much the case with

E.M. The farmers report being very satisfied with the results of E.M. (eradication of flies,

mitigation of odors, etc.), but have never actually bought it. Instead, they wait for the

students to bring more for them to "try." This begs the question "Do the farmers value it

enough to purchase it if they were told that the students would never again be able to bring

any free samples?".

While EARTH is not the only entity involved in nonformal education and extension

efforts, farmers freely expressed that their level of satisfaction with EARTH was superior to

the other entities. A couple of opinions and reasons are captured in the following quotes:

"The government (MAG) doesn't help me and the only assistance I have ever received is

through this program [the WEM]...through the students of EARTH." "EARTH dedicates

time to the farms...they don't charge, it's free. Other institutions never come around." And

"I think it is a good idea to work with other institutions other than EARTH, but I strongly

prefer working with EARTH for two reasons. The first reason is: because of the students,









there is constant communication. The second is: the scientists, professors... are familiar

with the farm because they have physically been here."

It became obvious that the student change agents were sources of motivation for the

farmers. Time and again, farmers made statements supporting this observation. One

farmer said "if the students leave, so does my motivation." The students seem to create an

enthusiasm in the farmers, but this enthusiasm may not last once the students are gone. For

traditional extension agents, this dependency may seem as a hindrance for the farmers to

"help themselves" and for the agents to create the desired "terminal relationship." For

example, one farmer commented that he is dependent upon the student to come up with

new ideas and bring information. He doesn't think that he should help himself to the

degree that he is independent of the students; rather, he is comfortable with the continued

dependency on them. This may or may not be an issue since this is not a traditional

extension program, and the farms continue to receive students.

The farmers repeatedly voiced their frustration with the river flooding, especially the

river, Jimenez, in La Lucha. It was identified as an obstacle to the adoption of various

innovations.

One more factor, known as the "Human Factor" (Personal communications, on

August 11, 2004, Dr. Pedro Bidegaray) may affect the farmers' decisions to adopt

innovations. Bidegaray explains the Human Factor as "an intrinsic quality of certain

individuals to seize the opportunity and do something with it." This is similar to Rogers

Theory of Adoption (2003) which states that a person who is classified as an "innovator"

will have a higher likelihood of adopting an innovation than someone who is not. The

following excerpts are from the researcher's field notes and serve to illustrate the type of