We propose to build upon the success of our prior NCRAC-Sea Grant project to continue to perform innovative aquaculture applied research and outreach throughout the North Central Region. We will continue the most effective of our current efforts while expanding work in several areas with the long-term goal of helping to grow the NCR aquaculture market by educating consumers on the value of sustainably produced, locally farmed fish. As in Phase 1, we will take a partnership approach: NOAA/National Sea Grant Office will provide $70,000 in matching funds if this proposal is successful. This partnership will provide us with significant resources and leverage to work towards four objectives: (1) expand Midwest-oriented, consumer-facing aquaculture outreach, focusing on sharing local farmers’ stories and on leveraging extension staff to help consumers understand the health benefits of farmed fish; (2) develop two toolkits: one on fish marketing for producers and one on the health benefits of farmed fish for nutrition extension staff; (3) expand our EatMidwestSeafood.org website to include connections to direct-sale producers; (4) and act as a liaison between NCRAC and Sea Grant aquaculture efforts in the region. This project will significantly expand consumer- and producer-oriented aquaculture outreach throughout the North Central region.
- Expand Midwest-oriented, consumer-facing aquaculture outreach to include (1) “Local Farmers, Local Fish” videos filmed in multiple states in the North Central Region and (2) a redeveloped Fish4Health website and outreach collateral including additional information on the health benefits of farmed fish.
- Develop aquaculture training and toolkits for both Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension Service (CES) staff in the areas of nutrition and family health in addition to aquaculture marketing techniques.
- Refine and upgrade the Eat Midwest Fish website to include better connections to direct-sale producers and explore collaborations with local foods organizations to provide better linkage of fish producers and fish products into online marketing platforms these organizations operate.
- Serve as a liaison between various federal and state programs working in the regional aquaculture industry.
- At least five Local Farmers, Local Fish videos from at least three states, with at least one of the states being a Great Lakes state and one being a non-Great Lakes state.
- At least three additional farmed fish cooking videos and six additional farmed fish fact sheets.
- An updated and expanded Fish4Health website, containing additional information on farmed fish.
- A completed needs assessment report describing the existing level of knowledge of and programming about the human health benefits of eating farmed fish.
- A health benefits of eating fish toolkit for CES staff, developed, pilot-tested, and delivered to relevant/interested Human Health & Nutrition CES staff throughout the region.
- An aquaculture marketing toolkit for aquaculture producers, developed, pilot-tested, and delivered to producers throughout the region.
- An expanded Fresh Fish Finder map on EatMidwestSeafood.org, incorporating links to direct-sales sites where available and a separate section on direct sales of farmed fish.
- An annual Liaison Report describing liaison activities taken and connections made.