Claire Strader, Small-Scale and Organic Produce Educator for Dane County UW-Extension, has been inducted as one of four leading Extension educators into the ranks of the SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program. Each year, four Fellows are chosen to participate in a two-year series of sustainable agriculture tours to learn and experience how sustainable strategies work in the field.
Claire Strader has worked as the Small-scale and Organic Produce Educator for Dane County UW-Extension since 2013. The position is co-funded through a partnership with FairShare CSA Coalition. Before joining UW Extension, Strader worked as an organic vegetable farmer in New Hampshire and California. She was also an owner/partner on an established organic vegetable farm in Wisconsin before being hired to start Troy Community Farm. At Troy Community Farm, she sold organic produce, herbs, sprouts and bedding plants through a 150-member CSA, onsite sales and local grocery accounts. Strader also established an internship program, teaching interns through formal classes, weekly field classes, weekly field walks, field trips and field work. Her responsibilities at UW Extension include on-farm trials focused on cover crops and no-till techniques for organic vegetable farmers, four of which have been funded through SARE Partnership grants. Strader is working with farmers, Extension colleagues, and the WI Department of Workforce Development to establish the first registered Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship in the county. Strader plans to use her experience with the Fellows program to inform and expand her work with organic vegetable farmers to explore no-till and reduced-tillage techniques and farm labor solutions.
The SARE Fellows program improves agricultural professionals’ capacity to assess production systems using a whole-systems approach,” says SARE’s Associate Director Kim Kroll. “SARE Fellow Candidates learn how to adapt core sustainable practices to serve producers who want to improve the sustainability of their operations back home.”