1. Change is probably more difficult from the inside than from the outside
of LGU's. Universities are society's rudders in many ways. They hire
their own and perpetuate their institutions very well. Although that has
had its good aspects, it can be a great point of frustration in times of
increasingly rapid change as we have experienced in recent times.
Remember, too, that university faculty (I'm including Extension agents as
faculty although not all states do so) see their role as helping other
people change through education and research, but, as those who are
supposed to have all the answers, they may be quite resistant to change
2. Universities, especially LGU's, are increasingly influenced by
political and pragmatic forces they once might have claimed were not very
big factors in their direction and policy development. Chief among these
forces is funding, which has shifted as the relative portion of
appropriated public money has declined. University administrators'
(including presidents) success is based on the size of institution or
program they manage so they have increasingly shifted their emphasis toward
sources of funding the can help them build or maintain their empires ---
grants, gifts, corporate sector, patents and licensing.
3. LGU's have a huge amount of resources that can and should be supportive
of the interests of sustainable agriculturists. In many cases these
resources are slowly shifting a little more in this direction.
4. LGU's are increasingly political creatures, responding to a variety of
force fields tied to funding, legislative action, and enrollment. Hence,
the most effective and efficient way to influence change in LGU's is to
think and act politically. Thinking LGU's will do the "right thing", i.e.,
support your goals, because it is in the best interest of society or the
environment most likely will result in more frustration than change. I
have not found much principle centered leadership in LGU's, but I have seen
lots of reactive behavior --- reactive to forces that can influence their
resources and image.
5. Building coalitions with people and groups both inside and outside the
LGU's, working with elected officials, and spending more time developing
strategic political plans will lead to much greater success, both for
accomplishing the goals of specific interest groups (e.g., organic and
sustainable ag) as well as creating a more sustainable public LUG system.
Often, small or poorly funded groups feel this is impossible, that they
can't hope to compete with the bigger forces. Experience says that is not
entirely true. In fact, as the discussions on SANET show, new ideas and
change usually come from the fringe, not the mainstream. Space is limited
here, but if you are interested in specific examples of successful change
in LGU's through the action of less powerful groups, let's discuss further
At 09:35 AM 10/22/99 -0800, Marcie Rosenzweig wrote:
>This is a topic close to my heart, and dealing with it has been painful and
>joyful over these last ten years.
>First, let me say I've been blessed to have one of the most open-minded,
>continuously learning, and passionate Ag Extensionists, Garth Veerkamp, in
>my county. I consider him a friend and mentor. His wife Randi and he were
>beta testers for my book Market Farm Forms.
>Here are some experiences and observations I've had.
905 S.W. Viento Drive
Pullman, Washington 99163
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: