The State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP): A Case Study of Conservation Agriculture and Small Farmers in California
Abstract: This thesis assesses California's State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP) as a case study of a state-level program for conservation agriculture and small farmers. SWEEP is a competitive grant that supports on-farm improvements for reductions in both water use and greenhouse gas emissions. This thesis examines SWEEP's effectiveness at achieving environmental and social goals ... read morethrough California's agricultural industry. It reviews academic literature surrounding small farmer resources and agri-environmental payments, research on SWEEP's program design and implementation, and stakeholder interviews. Overall, SWEEP is a beneficial state-level complement to the suite of conservation agriculture programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It responds to state-specific challenges as well as places responsibility upon the agricultural industry to mitigate against climate change. For future iterations of SWEEP, there is opportunity to strengthen its stated goals for environmental impact, actively include small farmers, and increase monitoring and evaluation. Environmentally, SWEEP can further its specialization in greenhouse gas emissions reduction with proficiency-based goals. Socially, SWEEP can target its support of small farmers. Lastly, SWEEP can invest in monitoring and evaluation to measure achievements towards long-term sustainability in the agricultural industry.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Penn Loh.
Committee: Timothy Griffin.
Keywords: Agriculture, Sustainability, and Natural resource management.read less