chapter  3
Connecting Sustainable Agriculture to Rural Development: The Case of Pasture-Based Dairy Grazing
Pages 16

The community development "project" ofrenewing the vision and goals ofrural regions across America to create economic health has often stalled because it has not simultaneously engaged the renewal of the agricultural sector. With increasing mainstream acceptance of sustainable agriculture, the opportunities for bridging community development and agriculture have increased. However, the processes needed to link the two are complex and based in the creation of multiple intersections among family farmers, existing and emerging science, practical technologies, local economies and governmental organizations (Green et aI., 1993; Campbell, 1997; Lyson, 2004; Pigg and Crank, 2005). The transition to sustainable agricultural systems that renew the economic, environmental, and social conditions of rural places require two types of infrastructures: technical and social. The first, scientific and technical, is not just science and educational support but also access to financial and institutional resources. The second, social, is the building ofpublic and personal connections to develop a community that facilitates farmer information exchanges, enables farmers to risk new ventures and adopt new technologies, provides political support needed for public understanding and acceptance, and links farmers to institutions, policies and resources. The community development practitioner is uniquely positioned to help the agricultural community make social and scientific connections among themselves and to the larger rural

community. While many of the practitioner's favorite set of tools will work, the greatest challenge will be developing a vision of what is possible and transmitting it to others.