The NCR-SARE listening sessions serve as an opportunity to bring together people with differing viewpoints within a community of place to share their perspectives of sustainability and agriculture. NCR-SARE’s listening sessions are conducted by the Circle of Sustainability, a committee of NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council.
Reports resulting from the listening sessions serve as a respected information source on the status and prospects of sustainable agriculture and as such guide the Administrative Council that directs the NCR-SARE competitive grants and other programs.
Conducting a Listening Session
Requests for listening sessions are accepted and reviewed continuously. Requests should include:
- A description of the community or communities that will host the sessions in terms of NCR-SARE’s definition as “… a social grouping of people living in a definable geographic area with a definable agricultural ecosystem”. Typically one listening session event may include two or three gatherings in separate locations in order to capture the different communities in the location. These have been three-hour facilitated gatherings with 20 to 80 community members present.
- An explanation of the sustainability issues that are of particular concern to the host community, recognizing that sustainability has economic, environmental, and social dimensions.
- An assessment of the community’s long term opportunities and goals for sustainability in terms of the environment (air, soil, water, energy, biodiversity), the local economy (function and viability of production and distribution systems), and the social structure and function (food security and safety, health, cultural diversity, generational structure, sense of place and history, retention and growth).
- A description of the local organizing team who will help make arrangements for the listening sessions.
Listening session requests will be forwarded to relevant state NCR-SARE PDP coordinators, who will contact the local organizing team and, for listening sessions that are selected, will serve as liaisons between NCR-SARE and the local organizing committee. The local organizing team and NCR-SARE Circle of Sustainability members share responsibility for planning listening sessions, with coordination facilitated through teleconferences throughout the planning process.
There are limited funds available through NCR-SARE to reimburse expenses for facility rental and refreshments associated with the listening sessions.
Requests for listening sessions, or questions about the sessions, should be directed to email@example.com with “Listening Session Request” in the subject line, or mailed to the NCR-SARE office at 1390 Eckles Ave, Suite 120, St Paul, MN 55108.
Past Listening Sessions
NCR-SARE has conducted several sets of listening sessions. The goal of those listening sessions has been to improve NCR-SARE’s understanding and knowledge of sustainable agriculture from the perspective of these communities.
- In 2008, listening sessions were conducted with seven First Nations in North Dakota and South Dakota. Click here for a summary.
- In 2009, listening sessions were conducted in the rural communities of Bingham Lake and Clarkfield in southwestern Minnesota. Click here for a summary.
- In 2010, listening sessions were conducted in three communities in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Click here for a summary.
- In 2011, two listening sessions were conducted in cooperation with the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, and Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition at locations in North Dakota and Nebraska. Click here to view the flyer. Click here for a summary.