What is eOrganic, and How Can Partnering with eOrganic Benefit My Project?

What is eOrganic?

eOrganic (at eXtension.org/organic_production) is the eXtension Resource Area for Organic Agriculture

You can find eOrganic’s resources for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture at eXtension.org (pronounced e-extension). eOrganic’s initial content focused on general organic agriculture, dairy production, and vegetable production, but eOrganic members are now developing content on other farming systems and topics. All content is collaboratively authored and peer-reviewed by eOrganic’s community of University researchers and Extension personnel, other agricultural professionals, farmers, and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

eOrganic Goals

  1. To engage farmers, agricultural professionals and other members of the organic agriculture community with timely and relevant science-, experience-and regulation-based information in a variety of media and educational formats
  2. To facilitate project management, communication, and publication to eXtension.org
  3. To foster a national organic research and outreach community

Read a 2012 HortTechnology article about eOrganic and the 2014 eOrganic Annual Report

Find all our published content at www.eXtension.org/organic_production

Articles

eOrganic’s articles cover everything from the nuts and bolts of organic production for beginners to the latest information and technology for advanced producers. Find our articles http://extension.org/organic_production or download a publication list at http://eorganic.info/publications.

Videos

Because a moving picture is worth a thousand words, short video segments highlighting organic practices are featured at eOrganic. Producers and researchers demonstrate innovative cover cropping, reduced tillage, cultivation, soil management, pest management and marketing strategies. You can find eOrganic’s videos at eXtension and at eOrganic’s YouTube channel.

Webinars

Our webinar series allows farmers, agricultural professionals and others to participate in live presentations by researchers, educators and farmers. To ask a question, participants type a question in the chat box. Find over 100 archived webinars and upcoming webinar information at http://www.extension.org/25242

Ask-an-Expert

People need answers to questions that aren’t currently answered in eOrganic’s content. To get an answer, eOrganic supports eXtension’s Ask-an-Expert. Users submit questions at eXtension.org and a community member or members with appropriate expertise reply to the request via email. Find Ask-an-Expert at http://www.extension.org/ask

eOrganic (at eOrganic.info) is a developing virtual organic agriculture research/outreach community

You can participate in a national organic agriculture research/outreach community at eOrganic.info, eOrganic’s virtual workspace and community hub. eOrganic community members convene at eOrganic.info to network, discuss, learn together, collaborate, manage research/outreach projects, and publish peer-reviewed articles, videos, and other content to eXtension.org. 


Take a tour of eOrganic's public content and its community hub at http://eorganic.info/tour

Why would I want to include eOrganic in my proposal?

Increasingly, funders are asking for proposals with

  • A significant extension component including stakeholder engagement
  • Integration of research and extension
  • A partnership with an eXtension Community of Practice. An eOrganic partnership can help your project deliver all three.

eOrganic offers tools to facilitate your project’s delivery of high quality, peer-reviewed resources to a growing national audience of farmers, extension and other agricultural professionals, certifiers, educators, and researchers. eOrganic’s pages at eXtension.org have received more than 2 million page views since January 2009, and its YouTube videos have been viewed over 2.4 million times. And eOrganic not only delivers web resources, it also directly engages its growing audience. eOrganic’s community has answered more than 1,000 Ask-an-Expert questions. Over 20,000 people from all over the country have attended more than 150 webinars hosted by eOrganic. eOrganic communicates bi-monthly with its more than 12,000 newsletter subscribers and keeps in frequent touch with its 4,000 Facebook fans, 2,900 Twitter followers, and 6,000 Youtube subscribers. eOrganic also reaches out to farmers and agricultural professionals through booths and other activities at organic farming conferences across the US each winter.

eOrganic is also a virtual community and workspace at eOrganic.info – there, your group has the use of project and group management tools, the opportunity to manage a public project website with interactive tools, easy publication of resources to eXtension, and access to eOrganic’s webinars, Ask-an-Expert, and other engagement tools - all of these strategies facilitate integration of research and extension as well as collaborator and stakeholder engagement.

Why NOT partner with eOrganic?

What can my research/outreach project do with eOrganic?

As member groups of eOrganic, research/outreach projects can:

Engage farmers and the agricultural professionals supporting them

  • Develop and publish articles, learning lessons, manuals, resource guides, research reports, or other text and image-based resources to eXtension.org
  • Develop and publish videos to eOrganic’s YouTube site and eXtension.org
  • Coordinate/deliver webinars and webinar series
    • deliver a webinar on your project to farmers (Planning for Flexibility in Effective Crop Rotations at http://www.extension.org/pages/26734)
    • coordinate a webinar series on a timely topic for farmers -- your group can present the first webinar; invite 3 other research/outreach groups or farmers to present the others. Consider pairing up researchers and farmers as presenters, or farmers as sole presenters (Planning Your Organic Farm for Profit at http://www.extension.org/pages/26410).
  • Broadcast a live presentation through eOrganic as in Healthy Soils for a Healthy Dairy Farm from the NOFA NY Organic Dairy and Field Crop Conference
  • Broadcast presentations from a conference through eOrganic as in the 2014 Organic Seed Growers Conference or the USDA 2011 Organic Farming Systems Conference in Washington, D.C., found at http://www.extension.org/pages/33545.
  • Develop course materials and coordinate courses through eXtension's Moodle Campus  - see the Organic Seed Production course developed by Organic Seed Alliance as an example (you must register as a user of the Moodle Campus to access the course). Resources developed for non-credit courses can also be used in online or campus-based credit courses.
  • Describe your project and engage your cooperators and stakeholders through a public website that you manage through eOrganic.info. As examples, see:  Tools for Transition and NOVIC

Develop a course

  • Introduction to Organic Dairy Production Course

Members of the eOrganic Dairy Team received a NIFA OREI grant "Development of Technical Training and Support for Agricultural Service Providers and Farmers in Certified Organic Dairy Production Systems" in 2010. Cindy Daley and Audrey Denney at California State University-Chico, Sarah Flack of Sarah Flack Consulting, and Heather Darby and Deb Heleba at University of Vermont Extension developed "An Introduction to Organic Dairy Production" online course composed of 10 modules addressing certification, soil health, pasture and forages, herd health and nutrition, milk quality, and calf management. Each module has required readings, a narrated powerpoint presentation from an expert on the topic, and recommended additional resources. The course was piloted in fall 2012 with a group of 57 undergraduate students at Chico State. Students took the course either entirely online, or online with supplemental in-person instruction. An end-of-course survey revealed that all students gained knowledge on all topics covered through the course. One student said, "The information is solid. Being that I am headed back to my dairy, I will certainly use the knowledge I gained from this course." Still another said, "Having this knowledge will really give me a "one-up" on a lot of other people in the industry, as the organic side of things is becoming more prevalent in farming. Whatever direction I may go in, I can always use this information to try to better operations and educate other farmers." The course will be offered through eXtension's Moodle campus in early 2013 for farmers, Extension educators, and agriculture service providers. Find the course at http://www.extension.org/pages/69299

  • Organic Seed Production Course

An eOrganic course on Organic Seed Production was developed by Jared Zystro and collaborators at the Organic Seed Alliance. The course covers the fundamentals of seed production for onions, beets and chard, brassicas, carrots, and wet seeded crops, as well as climatic requirements for seed crops, important diseases, and seed quality. After having been peer-reviewed and checked for organic certification compliance, the course is now available on the eXtension Moodle campus site at http://campus.extension.org/enrol/index.php?id=377.

  • Video Production Course

eOrganic is training members in video storyboarding, filming, and production planning through its Introduction to Video Production course at the http://eorganic.info/node/7345.

Manage your project and engage geographically-distributed project members:

  • Manage your project, participate in eOrganic.info, and publish to eXtension through a project-specific group workspace at eOrganic.info. Here your group can use project and group management and publication tools including:
    • file and image sharing
    • group pages, for meeting notes and other collaborative documents such as proposals and reports
    • discussion forum
    • article collaboration, editing, review, and publication to eXtension
    • publication of other types of content to eXtension
    • webconferencing
    • calendar
    • technical support for eOrganic.info and other web 2.0 tools
  • Engage your project members and collaborators, including researchers, educators, farmers and agricultural professionals
    • collaborate more effectively with collaborators from other institutions or locations by including them as members of your group workspace
    • develop a project-specific public website where vetted project members can upload files and share ideas in a discussion forum
    • extend your in-person meetings or workshops through webconferencing and broadcasting tools supported by eOrganic

Evaluate your eOrganic content

All eOrganic evaluation activities maintain participant confidentiality and are coordinated with IRB oversight and approval.

  • Evaluation of eOrganic WebinarsWebinar participants must provide contact information, allowing eOrganic to contact them subsequently to ask them about the webinar as well as other eOrganic content.
    • Polling during the webinars. The “polling” system within GoToWebinar can be used by webinar presenters to ask participants a small number of questions during the webinar. Responses are automatically recorded in the GoToWebinar data, and poll results can be shown to participants during the webinar.
    • Post-webinar surveys: During the webinar registration process participants are notified they will be asked to complete a very brief survey after the webinar. At the end of the webinar, the importance of the survey is emphasized and participants are told to expect an email invitation. Post-webinar surveys also include questions about participant experiences with eOrganic articles, videos, other live or recorded webinars, Ask an Expert, or any other specific content related to the webinar (for example, other project-specific content or activities).
    • Surveys of webinar participants the following year: To assess the impact of the webinar on participant practices, a survey can be sent to webinar participants the yearfollowing webinar delivery. Webinar presenters identify practices that could have been changed as the result of that specific webinar. Questions are crafted to solicit impact feedback from farmers as well as the agricultural professionals supporting farmers, or any other audience group.
      Example:
      As the result of attending the eOrganic late blight webinar, in the summer of 2010 I (select all that apply):
      1. destroyed potato cull piles
      2. planted and managed my tomatoes and potatoes to maximize air flow and leaf drying
      3. scouted my fields regularly for late blight symptoms
      4. carefully managed my irrigation to minimize leaf wetness (timing of overhead irrigation, use of drip irrigation)
      5. planted late blight resistant varieties
      6. prophylactically applied copper or other materials
      7. other (please describe _____________________________________)

  • Evaluation of eOrganic articles and other content:

eOrganic can work with each project group to identify stakeholders from whom to solicit feedback on the quality and utility of the project’s eOrganic content. The project group will identify individuals and their contact information. eOrganic will send these individuals surveys by email (and/or mail), and follow up with emails and phone calls to improve response rate. Surveys will ask the individual to select one or more articles or videos from a list and fill out a survey about that specific article or video. Surveys will include questions including: Which of the following best describes your work? Where do you work? How much did this article or video improve your understanding of the topic? Do you intend to apply the knowledge you gained from this article or video to your work? Would you recommend this article or video to others? Additional questions can be crafted, including questions about changes in intentions or practices.

How can I include eOrganic in my proposal?

Just like with any other collaborative effort, an effective eOrganic plan of work takes time to develop. Please contact us early in the proposal development process so we can work with you to develop your proposal’s eOrganic plan of work and budget. eOrganic will be written in as a subaward in your project’s budget.

Why is eOrganic asking that proposals include subawards to support eOrganic?

eOrganic requires funding to support the following eOrganic Core Services to your project and other groups and members of the organic research/outreach community.

eOrganic Core Services

  • Editorial management and publication to eXtension and Youtube for all public content (including copy editing, peer-refereed review and NOP compliance review)
  • Coordination of Ask-an-Expert
  • Coordination and technical support for webinars
  • Support for webconferencing and other networking tools and strategies
  • Development and member/group support for eOrganic.info, the community hub and publication workspace, including tools and support for project management and engagement
  • Evaluation of webinars
  • Outreach to farmers, extension and other agricultural professionals, researchers, and others through booths and presentations at farmer conferences, ads in farmer publications, activities at professional meetings, eOrganic’s public and community newsletters, and eOrganic’s Facebook and Twitter sites

What are the steps to eOrganic collaboration?

To include eOrganic in your project proposal, an eOrganic plan of work and budget must be included in the project proposal with eOrganic written in as a subaward. Contact eOrganic at least 2 weeks before your proposal is due to allow time to develop a project-specific eOrganic plan of work and budget and the subaward paperwork.

Contact eOrganic: For more information or to discuss a proposal, contact Alice Formiga at alice.formiga@oregonstate.edu. Email is preferred so we can quickly answer your questions.

Contact eXtension:  Contact Ann Adrian at eXtension.org for a letter of support (eOrganic can help you with this--after we write our letter of support, we ask eXtension to send you one).

eOrganic Sample Plans of Work and Budgets

Core Plan of Work for an Integrated Research/Outreach Project

This is a model plan of work; your project can adapt this plan as appropriate. Please contact us with your content development ideas.

eOrganic Plan of Work for “ORG INTEGRATED PROJECT”

eOrganic will provide the group with a project workspace at eOrganic.info so the project can:
• use the workspace tools for more efficient project management, communication, and publication
• develop a simple public project website hosted at eOrganic.info through that workspace
• easily publish to eXtension.org/organic_production
eOrganic will also provide support for webconferencing so the project can communicate with its dispersed project personnel as well as project collaborators/stakeholders via web meetings.

eOrganic staff will provide training materials for project members in video capture; videos captured following video capture guidelines will be edited by eOrganic staff, moved through peer and NOP compliance review, and posted to eOrganic’s YouTube channel (from there they can be embedded in other websites, eOrganic articles, etc).

eOrganic will support the project with technical support and peer and NOP compliance review for the publication of:

  • a webinar describing the project in year 1
  • 3 articles on organic management of XX
  • a 3-5 minute informative how-to video on farming or research practices to be made in the first and second project years to be embedded into websites and articles (eOrganic provides training materials for video capture; eOrganic staff edit, transcribe, manage review, and publish to YouTube).
  • a 3-webinar series on XX (for example: farmer/researcher teams describe specific strategies, and how to integrate those into a whole-farm plan)
  • a Moodle-based course on XX, utilizing all project information and publications - the resources and curricula developed can also be used in online and campus-based undergraduate and graduate courses

eOrganic will evaluate the quality and utility of webinars immediately following the webinar, and the impact of the webinar on participant practices and understanding in the winter following webinar delivery.

Core eOrganic Subaward Budget for an Integrated Research/Outreach Project:

New for 2017:

  • Reduced rates for eOrganic core budgets (see below)
  • New additional video production options here

eOranic has reduced our rates for subawards and is offering new video production options for integrated NIFA OREI proposals. Contact us at alice.formiga@oregonstate.edu.

  (See end of document for model subaward budget narrative)

Project Total DIRECT Costs: eOrganic Core Subaward DIRECT Costs  (add indirect costs to the costs listed below)

<150K (project DIRECT costs): $4000 in first year only (direct costs)
150-250K (project DIRECT costs):  $7500 (direct costs)
251-499K (project DIRECT costs):  10K (direct costs)
500K-750K (project DIRECT costs): 16K (direct costs)
751K-1M (project DIRECT costs):  25K (direct costs)
1M - 2M+ (project DIRECT costs):  40K (direct costs)

These core budgets provide direct support of your project activities as well as support for general eOrganic core functions including outreach, evaluation, Ask-an-Expert, and web platform development and support.

Plans of work and associated budgets will vary project-by-project. For more information on how to include eOrganic in your proposal and budgets, contact eOrganic.

Contact eOrganic: For more information or to discuss a proposal, contact Alice Formiga at alice.formiga@oregonstate.edu. Email is preferred so we can quickly answer your questions.

Budget Allocation and Narrative for eOrganic Subaward

For each project year, eOrganic will allocate your project's eOrganic subaward DIRECT costs as described below. eOrganic will then add appropriate indirect costs:

Each year:
B. Other Personnel:
Personnel funds will support staff time for the coordination of the following core functions:
webinar series, content peer and NOP compliance review, copy editing, eOrganic.info/eXtension/Youtube/Facebook/Twitter site support and development, Ask-an-expert, outreach, and content quality and utility evaluation.

D. Travel:
Travel funds will support eOrganic staff and CoP members to attend eXtension, professional society, and organic farming conferences to communicate about and market eOrganic to members and stakeholders.

F. Other Direct Costs

F.1. Materials and supplies:

Outreach Materials funds purchase outreach materials and conference fees (bookmarks, brochures, banners, ads in conference brochures, booth fees).

Telecommunications fees support eOrganic’s webconferencing and webinar services (currently, GoToMeeting, Open Voice, FreeConference and GoToWebinar).

Computers and video-audio/IT supplies funds contribute to the purchase of staff computers, headsets, microphones, adapters and other IT supplies. 

Contracting for video editing and production services for the production of videos for outreach and education.