Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 9:30 AM

Kicking the Dirt: A Participatory Action Research Program to Improve Soil Health.

Benjamin P. Wilson, Charles Sturt Univ., PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia

“Kicking the Dirt” means to talk informally, usually over a coffee or beer, and this Australian program is designed to facilitate a conversation between farmers, agronomists, government officers and scientists which will result in a comprehensive approach to soil health testing, monitoring, adoption, management and research. This program is based on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, which is defined as a community organizing and problem-solving tool.  PAR methodology provides ways for those involved in complex situations to find answers for themselves. This method increases awareness and understanding and helps to develop a shared sense of purpose.  PAR establishes a basis for implementation; because people work together in the process, they tend to emerge with a joint commitment to change.