Eric Gallandt, Weed Ecologist at the University of Maine, is working with colleagues in the mid-western U.S., California and the Netherlands to better understand how organic farmers think about weeds, weed management, and how they implement strategies to manage weeds on their farms. The general idea motivating the “Mental Models” project is that farmers think about weeds and weed management in some fundamentally different ways from researchers and extension personnel resulting in a disconnect between current outreach training and programming, and grower adoption and implementation. We are looking for 5 organic vegetable farmers and 3 organic dairy farmers in Vermont to participate in the project.
In the late spring of 2010 we will conduct soil sampling on one field of each farm to characterize the weed seedbank. This information will be posted online and/or otherwise made available to the participants in the fall of 2010, including weed species composition and the abundance of each species. In early 2011, we will visit each farmer to conduct a 2-hour interview to document the farmers' knowledge, beliefs and perceptions of weeds and weed management. Participants will be visited once more in early 2011 for a 1-hour survey regarding economic decision making related to weed management. Participants will receive a detailed analysis of their germinable weed seedbank, including identification and abundance of all species. And, their insights will make important contributions to improving practical research and outreach at the regional and national levels. If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please contact Eric Gallandt (207) 581-2933 or email@example.com.