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The Community & Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) received national and regional accolades for their work developing curriculum and training in New York state.

The Excellence in Community Development Work Award recognizes outstanding community development programs as well as scholarly, creative, teaching and research accomplishments. CaRDI’s Local Agriculture & Land Use Leadership Institute was evaluated primarily on its impact, response to community need and collaboration. The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals  granted CaRDI the award during their June 13 annual conference, held jointly this year with the international Community Development Society in Big Sky, MT.

“Our team is honored to receive this national and regional recognition from our professional colleagues,” said David Kay, senior extension associate at CaRDI.

CaRDI launched the Institute in 2016 in partnership with American Farmland Trust and LEAD New York, a leadership program housed in CaRDI. The Institute’s curriculum combines leadership and networking skills training with sessions on how New York’s farmland protection, land use planning and economic development systems work and interact. A diverse group of current and emerging community leaders interested in agriculture and farmland protection in central New York piloted the curriculum and participated in the five day-long sessions.

“Along with CaRDI’s partners in New York, we will continue to innovate in programming designed to help community leaders, in this case those interested in the future of farming in their region, and build their capacity to make decisions based on fuller understanding of the interacting social, economic, environmental and governance systems of which they are all part,” said Kay.

The group is in talks to expand the training throughout the Southern Tier, according to Kay.

Honorees named in the award include Kay, Robin Blakely-Armitage, Rod Howe and Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman of CaRDI; David Haight of American Farmland Trust; Larry Van De Valk of LEAD NY; and Judy Wright of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County.

CaRDI is a group of research and outreach faculty and professionals in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences working in critical areas of community development. Learn more about CaRDI and the Institute on their website.

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