Funding and Participatory Budgeting Process

The OSPUD project was largely supported by one two-year Western SARE grant for 198K.  The budget we submitted to SARE with our proposal supported a project plan informed by informal interviews with two of the OSPUD farmers, conversations about potato production at the NW Farmer to Farmer Exchange meetings, tuber quality evaluations at local farmers markets, and an investigation into the issues considered critical in conventional potato production west of the Cascades.

When we received the funding, we hired the project staff (75% time project coordinator, 20% time entomologist, 5% time participatory facilitator).  We then 'released' the rest of the project funds to the group. 

To fund each season's activities, project staff developed 'competitive' proposals with budgets.  These proposals were based on information, ideas, and suggestions for approaches that emerged from the December meetings.  Project staff then worked individually, and as a group, to develop various research/activity proposals (with associated budgets), and these were sent to the farmers before the February meeting. Essentially, we pitched to them a variety of approaches to problems, with their associated costs.  At the February planning meeting, the staff presented these approaches and costs, and the farmers collaboratively put together, in cooperation with the staff, a season-long project plan and budget. In a few cases, project ideas put forward by the researchers were partially or completely dropped from the budget.

This approach changed the project objectives, activities, and how we spent non-salary funds.