Online learning: Climate smart agriculture

Training Course
Center for Sustainable Development (CSDi)
07 May - 01 Jul 2013
06 Aug - 29 Sep 2013
29 Oct - 16 Dec 2013
04 Mar - 28 Apr 2014
09 Sep - 03 Nov 2014
02 Feb - 30 Mar 2015

This past year CSDi has participated in a number of agricultural partner projects worldwide. We are seeing tremendous similarities between the projects: eroded topsoil, gullys, not enough water, too much water, drought, and a lack of knowledge of effective techniques for adapting to a changing climate. These challenges lead to reduced harvests, reduced income, and reduced food security.

Agricultural families suffer from widespread malnutrition caused by a changing climate. These challenges exacerbate the already complex problem of poverty due to a lack of agricultural income. Combined, they lead to chronically malnourished and frequently ill children—and an inability to purchase food and pay for children's education and health care. The solutions that students have been developing for their projects include a community-based Climate Smart Agricultural Program. In OL 333 students and their community members will first develop a participatory mapping of crop systems, and soil and water resources, and then consult with an expert in soil, water and agriculture to develop a participatory training process for developing a Climate Smart Agricultural Program specific to their local context.

Course syllabus

Week 1: Local context

  • Surveys and interviews to collect traditional knowledge on agriculture, changes in agricultural cycles, vulnerabilities and coping strategies.

  • If you conducted surveys in 343, you can use that data.

  • Facilitate the organization of a community based Farmer Association.

  • If you formed a committee in OL 343, you can simply form a subcommittee for for a new Farmer Association.

  • Identify expert specialist/extension agent in soil, water and agriculture to design and facilitate participatory capacity building workshops.

Week 2

  • Community workshop on participatory mapping of cropping systems, and soil and water resources, uses, challenges and ecosystem services.

  • If you did this in OL 343, you can use that information.

  • Identify important soil and water resources and challenges.

  • Prioritize degraded farmlands and resources for protection/restoration.

  • Strengthen community knowledge on adaptation to climate change.

Week 3: Survey of solution-oriented adaptation techniques

  • Low input agricultural technologies.

  • Conservation Agriculture.

Week 4

  • Mulching for reducing evaporative water loss and increasing organic material in the soil. Improving the organic matter of soils.

  • Contour leveling: level planting rows across hillside.

  • Stone and soil bunds to control runoff, increase soil moisture and reduce soil erosion.

  • Depressions to catch water for soil penetration; infiltration ditches.

  • Planting grass strips, trees, and hedgerows across the contour to reduce runoff velocity, improve water infiltration, and trap sediment.

Week 5

  • Buffering against extended dry spells, the late arrival of rain and/or an early end to the rainy season, and from strong tropical rains.

  • Changing cropping cycle and crop mix

  • Multiple and rotational cropping.

  • Crop diversification.

  • Early maturing.

  • Drought resistant crop varieties.

Week 6

  • Evaluate results of participatory mapping of agricultural resources and select appropriate, improved agricultural practices.

  • Overview for committee members of sustainable agricultural practices including soil restoration and conservation techniques, water conservation and management techniques .

  • Make an appointment to propose appropriate techniques to the Farmer Association Management Committee for feedback$

Week 7: Workshop planning

  • Prioritize which soil/water conservation/restoration technique should be introduced in the first workshop.

  • Contact agricultural extension expert of feedback and input

  • Develop a workshop lesson plan.

  • Draw a how-to card.

  • Arrange the date and location for the workshop with your community contact person.

  • Arrange for supplies and tools for the workshop with your community contact person.

Week 8: Capacity building

  • Organize your own presentation materials.

  • Arrange for colleagues to accompany you in facilitating the workshop.

  • Ask agricultural extenion agent to join you in the workshop

  • Facilitate the capacity building workshop at the demonstration plots.

Visit website

Event fee

$100.00 for citizens of developing nations, $150.00 for citizens of developed nations.

What is included in the event fee

The course includes an overview of climate smart agricultural practices complete with downloadable manuals and field guides for each technique

Target audience

Prerequisites: CSDi courses OL 102 - or - OL 342

How to register

Please register online, or email the event organizer for more information.

Deadline to register 16 April 2013


Capacity Development, Climate Change, Environment & Ecosystems, Water, Social Impacts & Social Resilience, Food Security & Agriculture
VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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