Today is National Farmer’s Day, and here at UConn Extension, we celebrate our farmers every day. Extension professionals work statewide to help farmers improve their operations, diversify crops, and scale up their business models.
Jiff Martin is our Food Systems Extension Educator and works with agricultural producers statewide to strengthen agriculture and promote local agriculture and food systems. She developed new training and resources for beginning farmers, available through the Solid Ground program. The trainings and resources span farmland access, business planning, season extension, agricultural mechanics, marketing and more.
In 2023, Jiff and UConn Extension, in partnership with a BIPOC-led organization, E&G Community Builders introduced the Leaders of Color in Conservation (LOCC). It provided training and mentoring to eight individuals in conservation planning and common practices on small farms and included both online training and farm field days. These eight people then worked with three BIPOC farmers each, helping with conservation and natural resource goals. USDA-NRCS funded the project.
These programs are examples of the work UConn Extension does every day to support Connecticut farmers. Jiff Martin is being recognized by the USDA-NIFA and APLU Northeast Region Individual Excellence in Extension Award at the APLU Annual Meeting in November.
Join us on January 19th at 7 PM for a webinar on Urban Agriculture Opportunities in Connecticut. Dean Indrajeet Chaubey from the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and Extension educators Jacqueline Kowalski and Jiff Martin are presenting along with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, USDA, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
The White House recognized UConn Extension educator Jiff Martin as a Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate Smart Agriculture in October. The program features individuals who are doing extraordinary things to inspire and empower members of their communities, Martin was one of 12 individuals from across the country selected for this honor.
Jiff reflected on her role in sustainable and climate smart agriculture:
“When I came to Connecticut 13 years ago, I advocated on behalf of environmental leaders and farmers in Connecticut whose common cause was the preservation of working farmland. This coalition, Working Lands Alliance, taught me the vital link between our quality of life and the land that sustains us.
Now I work with Cooperative Extension, connecting people to the farmland, farmers and flavors of local food. I am just one of so many champions for change in our food system. Through our new farmer trainings, I have met bright, new farmers that are driven to feed their communities while sharing the realities of small-scale farming. I respect our partner organizations that use innovative food projects to improve their communities’ health and equity. And I am full of hope, thanks to the young emerging leaders that I meet through our AmeriCorps programs, FoodCorps CT, and Connecticut Food Justice VISTA Project.
In New England we have the capacity to produce and consume more of our own food through locally owned farming, fishing, and food enterprises. I see hundreds of endeavors across the region, from school gardens to incubator farms to food hubs to mobile markets. Without a doubt, our food system transformation is well underway.”
Jiff Martin is an Associate Extension Educator in Sustainable Food Systems, at University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.
On Monday, October 26, the White House will recognize 12 individuals from across the country as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate Smart Agriculture. UConn Extension’s Jiff Martin was selected as one of the recipients.
These individuals were selected by the White House for their achievements and will be honored for exemplary leadership and innovation in agricultural production and education. The Champions have helped implement agricultural practices to promote soil health and energy efficiency, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change can no longer be seen as a distant threat. It is already impacting forest, grassland, and cropland systems in the United States, and is threatening agricultural producers and their communities. These Champions understand the challenges our nation is facing from a changing climate and are taking steps to build resilience to the impacts of climate change, which also protects their bottom line. The program will feature remarks by United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Jiff Martin is the Sustainable Food System Associate Educator for UConn Extension, which is part of the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. Jiff has worked for over 12 years on food and agriculture issues in Connecticut, helping residents discover local agriculture, connecting kids to healthy, whole foods, and researching community food security in Connecticut’s 169 towns. Her recent work includes leading a team of Extension Educators to assist new farmers in production and farmland management; directing two AmeriCorps service learning programs; and educating consumers through BuyCTGrown.com’s 10% Campaign, under which residents and businesses are asked to pledge 10 percent of their food and gardening budget to locally-grown products. Jiff was previously State Director for the American Farmland Trust and Food Policy Director at Hartford Food System.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals who are doing extraordinary things to inspire and empower members of their communities. The event will be live-streamed on Monday, October 26 at 2:00 PM ET. Visit www.whitehouse.gov/live/ to tune in. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions. You can also follow the conversation at #WHChamps and #ActOnClimate.