Research & Outreach
The Pathways project combines research at both the community and national levels with extension and policy outreach to identify, verify, and disseminate effective, collaborative approaches to value-added sector development.
Finding Effective Pathways
Finding effective collaborative pathways involves three research phases. These combine national-level analysis, on-the-ground exploration of collaborative practices in our partner communities, and focus groups with rural development practitioners from across the U.S. to identify promising strategies for value-added sector development.
We start by mapping established measures of assets at the county level for the entire United States to better under what assets rural communities have.
We work on-the-ground in two partner communities – in Ohio and Colorado – to identify how these communities use collaborative governance to leverage available assets.
Finally, we work with our national project partners to refine our analysis of collaborative pathways to rural wealth creation.
National Asset Mapping
- They indicate what assets are particularly common in rural communities and what value added agriculture development looks like nationally.
- They indicate how our partner communities are similar to, or different from, other rural communities and, as a result, how strategies used in our partner communities may be applicable elsewhere.
Partner Community Research
On-the-ground research allows us to dive deep into understanding how rural assets are used and what role collaboration plays in employing them. This process involves two parts.
- Onsite mapping of community assets. To strengthen and, if necessary, refine our measures of community assets from the national-level analysis, we are conducting on-site assessments of the assets in our partner communities.
- Exploration of collaborative processes. Exploring how each of partner community uses collaboration to develop their value-added sectors – drawing on analysis of existing documents, interviews with key stakeholders, and on-site observations – provides grounded knowledge to guide further research and outreach.
Refining Our Findings at the National Level
These three phases of research – national-level analysis of county-level assets, partner community research, and nationally diverse focus groups – provide the empirical basis for developing and disseminating rural development policy and development materials.
Extension and Outreach
The Pathways research is conducted with the aim of supporting rural development practice in the following ways.
Strengthening collaboration in our partner communities. The Pathways project uses the on-the-ground research and analysis conducted in our partner communities, combined with the resources of our national partners, to support the collaborative value-added agriculture development in community. The objective of this extension work is to strengthen and further advance the collaborative value-added development work that is already going on in these two communities.
Create practical resources for rural development practitioners. The project aims to support rural development practitioners beyond our two partner communities. Towards this end, we create tools and resources based on our research and extension experience to help inform and support other rural communities interested in developing and/or strengthening their collaborative approaches to value-added sector development.
Informing rural development policy. Finally, the Pathways project provides briefing and policy materials for state and national policy makers on how they can create policies and programs that support collaborative value-added sector development in rural communities.
Visit our resources and publications to learn more about our extension and outreach work.
Questions about Pathways to Prosperity, have ideas or recommendations, or want to know how you can contribute or get involved? We would love to hear from you!
Or Snail Mail at: Pathways to Prosperity | 310C Page Hall | 1810 College Road North | Columbus, OH 43210