Creating a Sense of Belonging for Hispanic Farmers in Extension Programming

Final report for ENE15-139

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $54,432.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Elsa Sanchez
Penn State University
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Project Information

Summary:

Due to current demographic changes, U.S. Hispanics will play a larger role in the future of agriculture and the overall workforce and economy. In 2017, Pennsylvania reported 759 Hispanic farmers, representing a 16% increase since 2012 (Census of Agriculture). As the U.S. increasingly becomes more multi-cultural, Extension must expand its ability to serve culturally diverse groups.

In 2016-17, we engaged a total of 25 agricultural educators in a series of three training workshops aimed at increasing our understanding of challenges and concerns of Hispanic farmers and farmworkers and developing strategies to engage this community in agricultural programs. The first workshop was primarily led by a social psychologist and was focused on the question “In what ways might farmers’ concerns about inclusion or psychological safety prevent them from participating in extension programming?”. Participants gained insights to the science of inclusion including how social cues can influence an individual’s feelings of support and value in a setting. 

The second workshop was led by a specialist in Latino community studies and focused on the question “Why don’t they come?”. Participants were equipped with tools to create an educational program welcoming to the Hispanic agricultural community. For the third workshop, representatives from organizations successfully connecting with the Hispanic agricultural community were invited to share their strategies for building relationships. Building trusting relationships with this community was an overall theme of all three workshops. Many strategies were discussed including building personal relationships to improve the comfort level of Hispanic farmers and farmworkers, contacting community groups to help identify and work with this community, valuing what everyone brings to events and their time, using translators and learning some Spanish when language is a barrier, and the idea that building community is about more than just sharing information.

A survey was administered to participants before and after each workshop. Responses to post-workshop surveys (with an avg. of 20 respondents) indicated that participants increased their knowledge in the workshop content areas and their abilities to better assist Hispanic farmers and farmworkers. A follow-up survey was also administered 1 year after the final workshop and 16 educators responded. Twelve (75%) respondents had connected with 1-5 farmers each and at least 9 farmworkers in the Hispanic agricultural community within the year following the workshop series. They reported developing numerous efforts targeted for this audience including: organizing or co-organizing educational events either designed for Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers or designed for traditional audiences with efforts to invite Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers, interacting one-on-one with a Hispanic farmer and/or farmworker at educational events and, developing educational materials in Spanish or translating existing materials to Spanish.

A final effort undertaken by the project team was to survey participants of the Spanish session of the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention to determine, in part, how it made them feel to have educational events developed specifically for them. Responses were overwhelmingly positive. Based on comments received, through targeted programming, we can create a sense of belonging through agricultural programming for this community.

Performance Target:

15 Extension educators will employ recommended strategies to overcome participation barriers experienced by Hispanic farmers; as a result 65 previously disengaged Hispanic farmers who manage 6,370 acres participate in educational services offered through Extension.

Introduction:

U.S. Hispanics are playing a larger role in agriculture. The number of new farmers has decreased overall. However, the number of Hispanic operated farms has increased 21% between 2007 and 2012 (2012 Census of Ag). In Pennsylvania, agricultural educators recognized a need to increase their abilities to better connect with these farmers. In 2014 survey of 24 Pennsylvania extension educators, the majority, 22 (92%), indicated that they wanted to upgrade their skills for working with Hispanic farmers and would attend a training program with that goal and a 2013 survey of 19 Start Farming educators prioritized cultural sensitivity training as one of the top five resources they needed. We engaged up to 25 agricultural educators through three in-person workshops, facilitated one-on-one visits with Hispanic farmers to evaluate and modify existing programming and brainstormed areas of new programming. In the first workshop we expanded the project to include Hispanic farmworkers. Throughout the project, we addressed barriers that interfere with participation of Hispanic farmers and farmworkers, upgraded skills for working with this underserved audience and practiced using this new skill set in program planning. A follow-up survey was administered 1 year after the final workshop and 16 educators responded. Twelve (75%) respondents had connected with one or more members of the Hispanic agricultural community within the year following the workshop series.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch
  • Lee Stivers

Educational Approach

Educational approach:

We engaged extension educators and specialists in Pennsylvania in three in-person training sessions, facilitated one-on-one visits with Hispanic farmers, provided a comprehensive packet of training materials, and used a case study to evaluate and modify existing programming and brainstorm areas of new programming.

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

35 extension educators and specialists serving commercial vegetable, small fruit and tree fruit farmers and pesticide education receive email invitations for the Creating a Sense of Belonging for Hispanic Farmers training series. (September 2015)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
35
Proposed Completion Date:
September 30, 2015
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
December 18, 2017
Accomplishments:

Hector Núñez Contreras, a member of the leadership in this project, took a position with private industry in early 2016. The remaining members decided to move forward with the project as a two member team. This delayed organizing the first workshop and sending out invitations; however, Lee, and Elsa spoke about the workshops at various meetings and one-on-one to Extension educators to alert them to this opportunity.

Invitations were sent by email to Extension educators who focus on horticulture in May 2016. Our goal of having 20 participants was mostly filled by this email request. We reached out individually to other Extension educators and exceeded our goal: 22 Extension educators signed-up for the first workshop.

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

20 extension educators and specialists accept the invitation and participate in a training session to identify barriers that interfere with participation of Hispanic farmers in extension programming; pre- and post-event surveys administered. (April 2016 – corresponding with our annual extension conference).

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
22
Proposed Completion Date:
April 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
July 13, 2016
Accomplishments:

The first workshop occurred on July 13, 2016. Our plan had been to hold it back-to-back with the annual extension conference to facilitate attendance. However, the format of the annual extension conference changed from an in-person event to an online one; therefore, we scheduled this workshop to be the day after an in-service event.

Dr. Jonathan Cook, a social psychologist, was the keynote speaker and presented insights from social psychology on the science of inclusion. He then led a guided discussion on the topic. The discussion was focused on these questions:

In what ways might farmers’ concerns about inclusion or psychological safety prevent them from participating in extension programming?

What aspects of extension programming, Penn State University, etc. might signal to Hispanic farmers that they might not belong?

What strategies could be used to help address issues of inclusion if these are barriers to Hispanic farmers participating in extension education?

The discussion was rich and had an ease to it that was welcome and perhaps not expected because of the sensitivity of the topic. This may be because of Dr. Cook’s abilities as a facilitator, the small group size, and/or because in general, everyone knew each other before attending the workshop. These factors and others may have created an environment where participants felt “safe” expressing ideas.

The group developed a list of possible concerns about inclusion or psychological safety that may prevent Hispanic/Latino farmers/farmworkers from participating in extension programming. While the majority of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States speak English, there is a segment of this population that either only speaks Spanish or is more comfortable communicating in Spanish. Also, while the majority of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States are American-born, there is a segment that may have a fear of government based on their past experiences or, for some, their immigration status. It is possible that Hispanic/Latino farmers/farmworkers are unaware of Extension and what it can offer. On the other hand, there may be a misperception that Extension is focused on conventional farming only. For farmworkers, their employers may not see the value of connecting employees to Extension. Settings for Extension events may be uncomfortable to some because of cultural standards and expectations. Lastly, the timing of these events may not be conducive to attendance due to other responsibilities at home or work.

We also discussed the aspects of extension programming that might signal to Hispanic farmers that they might not belong. Pamphlets advertising and describing events to should have pictures of speakers and attendees that include diverse people. Our current system for registering for events requires people to have internet access, email addresses, credit cards, etc. Some members of the Hispanic/Latino community may be reluctant to share this information.

Strategies that can help address issues of inclusion and action steps were also developed. A needs assessment would help to better understand the needs of this community. A barrier identified from the Extension side is that we are unable to identify many of the members of the Hispanic/Latino farmer/farmworker community. The idea of using snowball recruitment was presented to overcome this barrier. Having more cultural representation in educators and staff could signal inclusion to this community. Using multiple options for events, including changing the timing to better facilitate involvement, was discussed. As was the use of presentations rich in graphics versus in text.

After this discussion, Elsa presented on the demographics of Hispanic and Latino farmers and farmworkers in U.S. and Pennsylvania. This was followed by small group discussions on incorporating information learned from the workshop into extension programming. It became apparent that Hispanic farmers and farmworkers are different groups and we may need different approaches for creating welcoming environments. As an example, farmers make more managerial decisions perhaps than farmworkers and therefore, information that may be useful to them would differ. 

Pre- and post-workshop surveys were administered to participants. Survey results are discussed in the outcomes section below.

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

20 extension educators are provided a comprehensive packet of training materials. (April 2016)

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
22
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Proposed Completion Date:
April 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
July 13, 2016
Accomplishments:

Participants of the first workshop received a comprehensive packet of materials including the overall goal of the workshop, hard-copies of the PowerPoints used in the workshop, and a list of contact information for participants and speakers.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

20 extension educators and specialists are telephoned by PI Gorgo-Gourovitch to help identify a Hispanic farmer to visit. (May 2016)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Proposed Completion Date:
May 31, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 4, 2017
Accomplishments:

Based on the first workshop we modified the visit to include Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers. For the second workshop we invited Dr. José García-Pabón to lead a discussion on challenges and solutions for increasing Latino participation in programs and services. His workshop was developed to take the entirety of the time allotted. As a result, we determined that we would not have time to discuss the outcomes from visits. Therefore, we decided to introduce and discuss visits during the first workshop and to discuss the outcomes from the visits during the third workshop. Lee provided an example of how she had identified a farmer to visit. We also emailed participants with a reminder prior to the third workshop.

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

15 extension educators and specialists meet individually with a Hispanic farmer (15 farmers) in Pennsylvania to learn their needs from extension including what would facilitate them participating in extension programming (topics to aid in discussion are included in the comprehensive packet of training materials). (June-November 2016)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Proposed Completion Date:
November 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 4, 2017
Accomplishments:

We altered the timeline to complete this milestone. (Please see the discussion above.) Participants were provided with a list of open-ended questions as a guide for the one-on-one meeting with a Hispanic farmer or farmworker. The questions were written in English, but a translated edition in Spanish was created by Lee at the request of workshop participants.

This milestone highlighted the Extension barrier that we currently have not identified Hispanic farmers/farmworkers. We have developed a map of the number of Hispanic farmers by county throughout Pennsylvania based on the USDA Census of Agriculture; however, we only were able to identify a small number of individuals. Participants of the workshop were largely focused on horticultural crops and it is possible that these farmers grow other crops or livestock or that we have not encountered them through our Extension activities. We were not able to find information on the number of Hispanic/Latino farmworkers in Pennsylvania. Some participants identified a Hispanic farmer/farmworker; however, they were uncomfortable taking a list of questions to their first interaction. They determined that it would be better to build a relationship before presenting the list of questions. As a result this milestone was only partially successful. Only a few participants completed this milestone. Those participants shared their experiences and the people they talked with had positive experiences with Extension.

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

15 extension educators and specialists attend a training session to upgrade skills needed to work with Hispanic farmers; pre- and post-event surveys administered. (November 2016 – corresponding with our annual roundtable extension meetings)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
21
Proposed Completion Date:
November 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 20, 2016
Accomplishments:

A second workshop was held on October 20, 2016. Our original plan was to hold this workshop back-to-back with our annual extension team roundtable meeting; however, through a Doodle pole, the October date allowed more participants to attend. Twenty-one participants attended exceeding our goal of 15.

Dr. José García-Pabón, Community Sustainable Development Specialist at Washington State University, administered his program called “Why Don’t They Come?”. The goals of the workshop were for participants to:

  1. Have a better understanding of their own and their institution’s standing on awareness and outreach of Latinos.
  2. Better understand rural Latinos, including their cultural values and beliefs.
  3. Gain or reinforce best practices and effective methods in working with Latinos in agriculture.
  4. Start or expand partnerships to serve rural Latino families.
  5. Acquire strategies to overcome challenges and pitfalls.
  6. Plan an activity targeting Latino families in rural areas.

Goals were accomplished through a very engaging series of events. We individually completed a personal and institutional self-assessment and then discussed results. We discussed best management practices for working with Latinos in agriculture with a panel of agricultural educators who work with Hispanic communities. Dr. García-Pabón presented the culture and values of Latino farmers. We ended the workshop by working in small groups to address dilemmas in reaching out to Latinos in agriculture and planning an educational activity for Latino farmers and farmworkers.

Participants left with ideas to create a welcoming event for Hispanic/Latino farmers/farmworkers including:

  • Building trust and personal relationships to improve comfort level of Hispanic/Latino farmers/farmworkers
  • Providing transportation and involving families
  • Contacting community groups, participating with NRCS, and others to help identify and work with farmers/farmworkers
  • Using translators
  • Providing childcare or an activity for kids attending events with caregivers
  • Learning Spanish, even if it is broken Spanish

Participants received a comprehensive packet of materials including the overall goals of the workshop, hard-copies of the PowerPoint used in the workshop, and institutional self-assessment surveys.

Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch returned to Penn State Extension in October and resumed a role on the leadership team.

Workshop surveys

Pre- and post-workshop surveys were administered to participants at both workshops. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Participants rated the usefulness of the first workshop an average of 4.4 (n = 17; 5-point scale with 5 being the best).

At this workshop participants significantly increased their ability to assist Hispanic farmers, from 2.6 before the workshop to 3.3 after the workshop and their ability to assist farmworkers, from 2.4 to 3.2.

Participants liked the discussions and the majority did not think that the Hispanic community is well represented at extension meetings.

Based on a pre-and post-workshop survey, attendees of the second workshop increased their knowledge of the cultural values and beliefs of rural Latinos/as to an average of 3.25 on a 5-point scale (n = 16; 5 being substantially). 100% indicated that they left the workshop with a plan for conducting an educational activity or developing a resource targeting Latinos/as. Eight people indicated that they would be conducting or assisting with on-farm demonstration meetings conducted in Spanish. Twelve people identified strategies, methods, or best practices they learned about, including establishing relationships, building trust, providing transportation, providing childcare, collaborating with other agencies in outreach efforts, and learning even some simple Spanish.

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

15 extension educators and specialists are provided a case study extension program and asked to develop a list of ideas to increase Hispanic farmer participation in the program. (November 2016)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
21
Proposed Completion Date:
November 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 20, 2016
Accomplishments:

During the second workshop, as a small group activity, we planned an educational activity targeting Latino farmers. Activities developed were then shared with all workshop participants. This led to new ideas for increasing Hispanic farmer and farmworker participation in extension programming. Please see milestone 6 for more information.

Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

15 extension educators and specialists attend a training session to develop extension programming for Hispanic farmers based on the same case study they received in November; pre- and post-event surveys administered. (January 2017 – corresponding with the annual Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
20
Proposed Completion Date:
January 31, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 4, 2017
Accomplishments:

The goal of the third workshop was to gain insights for success in building a community with Hispanic farmers/farmworkers by hearing from people who have successfully engaged with this audience and meeting with a Hispanic farmer.

This workshop was held at the Clinton County Extension office in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania because this location was close to the farm we visited. Twenty-five participants attended.

The workshop began with a discussion of visits with Hispanic farmers/farmworkers. Please see milestone 5 for more information.

Then, Maria Rojas, Beginning Farmer Program Manager for GrowNYC, shared what her organization had learned from 17 years working with Hispanic farmers. She included many keys to success for building trusting relationships and steps taken to surpass barriers encountered.

Abigail Appleman, the Hispanic and Historically Underserved Outreach Technician with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), discussed how NRCS had identified barriers in their outreach efforts with Hispanic farmers and how they had removed them. She also discussed her efforts locating Hispanic farmers.

Anamaria Gomez Rodas, an Independent Consultant in Food Safety, spoke about programs she developed for Hispanic audiences as a consultant for Michigan State Extension. She talked about how she established trust with Hispanic farmers. As well as, how her programs had high attendance because she was able to explain how Extension could benefit Hispanic farmers.

Throughout is part of the workshop, many questions were asked and discussion was robust. We determined that as a first step we largely need to locate the Hispanic farmer community and work with farmers employing the Hispanic farmworker community throughout Pennsylvania. Once that barrier is overcome, we can work on building a trusting relationship. We brainstormed ideas that included working with businesses that hire Hispanic farmers/farmworkers, hiring a bilingual person to develop relationships, working with farmers who hire Hispanic farmworkers so they see the value in connecting these farmworkers to Extension programming, and offering programs in Spanish including articles, videos, etc. 

Lastly, we went to visit with Virgilio García, a local Hispanic farmer: Virgilio and his wife and children grow produce and raise poultry and livestock. He spoke to us about how he became a farmer, his goals for the future, and how he learned about Extension and NRCS services. He gave us a tour of his farm and answered all our questions.

During the workshop we also discussed the connection developed between Extension and NRCS personnel as a result of this project. We hope to develop this relationship more.

Participants received a comprehensive packet of materials including the overall goals of the workshop and hard-copies of the PowerPoints used in the workshop. They also received a USB drive containing all of the resources from all 3 workshops.

Pre- and post-workshop surveys were administered to participants at this workshop, with 20 respondents. As for the previous 2 workshops, feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

At this workshop participants significantly increased their ability to assist Hispanic farmers from an average of 3.1 before to 3.9 after the workshop and to assist farmworkers from 2.9 to 3.8 (5-point scale, 5 = very able).

They also increased their knowledge of the unique challenges faced by the Hispanic farmers from 2.2 to 2.9 (5-point scale, 5 = very knowledgeable).

They also increased their knowledge of different methods for successfully engaging with Hispanics from 2.2 to 3.0 (same scale).

Additionally, when asked if the workshop series met their expectations 11 informants indicated yes and 9 indicated that it exceeded their expectations.

Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

15 extension educators and specialists respond to a survey to report on their efforts and successes in reaching 65 Hispanic farmers. (January 2018)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
16
Proposed Completion Date:
January 31, 2018
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Approximately 1 year after the third workshop, participants were asked to complete an on-line survey to determine if the skills they gained through the workshop were useful for building relationships for building relationships with the Hispanic farmer and farmworker community.

Sixteen (16) educators responded and their responses are summarized below in the Performance Target section.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

Educational activities and events conducted by the project team:

1 Tours
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days

Participants in the project’s educational activities:

25 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
1 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

25 Agricultural service providers reported changes in knowledge, skills and/or attitudes as a result of their participation.
16 Ag service providers intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned through this project in their educational activities and services for farmers
Key areas in which the service providers (and farmers if indicated above) reported a change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness::

Pre- and post-surveys were administered at each workshop. Please see milestones 6, 8 and 9 for more information.

Performance Target Outcomes

Performance Target Outcomes - Service Providers

Target #1

Target: number of service providers who will take action to educate/advise farmers:
15
Target: actions the service providers will take:

15 Extension educators will employ recommended strategies to overcome participation barriers experienced by Hispanic farmers; as a result 65 previously disengaged Hispanic farmers who manage 6,370 acres participate in educational services offered through Extension.

Target: number of farmers the service providers will educate/advise:
65
Target: amount of production these farmers manage:

6,370 acres

Verified: number of service providers who reported taking actions to educate/advice farmers:
12
Verified: number of farmers the service providers reported educating/advising through their actions:
12
Performance target outcome for service providers narrative:

Sixteen educators responded to the follow-up survey approximately 1 year after the final workshop. Responses from fifteen (94%) supported the statement “I learned more about the demographics of Hispanic farmers and farmworkers” as a result of attending the workshop series.

Twelve of 16 (75%) respondents connected with Hispanic farmers, with most reporting they interacted with 1 to 5 people (selecting this number range in response to the question). Nine of 16 (56%) respondents had connected with Hispanic farmworkers. The significance of these connections is amplified when considering the difficulty in locating Hispanic farmers and farmworkers during the workshop series. Our goal was to connect with 65 Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers. These results indicate that this goal was exceeded.

Respondents used a variety of approaches to connect with Hispanic farmers and farmworkers including organizing or co-organizing educational events either designed for Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers (6 of 16 respondents) or designed for traditional audiences with efforts to invite Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers (5 of 16). Many interacted individually with a Hispanic farmer and/or farmworker through one-on-one meetings (7 of 16) or through conversations at educational events (11 of 16). Some developed educational materials in Spanish (4 of 16) or translated existing materials to Spanish (5 of 16). Only 3 respondents indicated they were not yet able to reach out to Hispanic farmers and/or farmworkers.

An example of connecting with the Hispanic agricultural community included holding a community meeting for a mostly Spanish-speaking audience to determine needs and convey what Extension offers. Another example was holding a bilingual workshop focused on weed identification and management.

Additional Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes Narrative:

An additional activity that the project team undertook was to survey participants of the Spanish session at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention on January 30, 2019 to determine how programming for this and similar audiences can be improved. The survey was administered in Spanish and 32 people completed it. Results presented here have been translated to English.

Demographics

Most respondents identified as male (29; 90.6%); however, the group also consisted of 2 females and one person who chose not to indicate gender. Respondents ranged in age from 28 to 55 years old, with an average age of 39. The majority were from Pennsylvania (27; 84.4%). The remainder were from New Jersey, West Virginia, or Maryland. Respondents had been living or working in these states between 2 and 33 years, with an average of 13 years. Thirty (93.8%) were farmworkers. The remaining two were both farmworkers and farmers. Most respondents (24; 75%) had attended this session previously, for some this was their 10th year attending.

Targeted Programming

Participants were asked where they prefer to learn something new. Most preferred learning at their workplace/farm (Table 1; 77.4%) or educational events (35.5%). Respondents nearly equally preferred to learn in class through listening (71.0%) and at workshops by engaging in hands on activities (74.2%).

Table 1. Responses of participants of the Spanish session of the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention to the questions “Where do you prefer to learn new information or skills?” and “How do you prefer to learn?”.

Question

Responses (No.)

Where do you prefer to learn new information or skills? (n= 31; respondents were asked to indicate all that applied.)

 

     At my workplace/farm

24

       During educational events

11

     At a church or community space

3

       Other

1 (“anywhere”)

 

 

How do you prefer to learn? (n= 31; respondents were asked to indicate all that applied.)

 

     In class (listening)

22

     At a workshop (doing)

23

     By reading

8

       From a colleague

7

     By myself

7

 

Participants were asked, “Is there anything at this convention that makes it more welcoming to attend compared to Extension meetings at other places?” Twenty-three participants completed this question. Eighteen (78.3%) people felt that the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention was a more welcoming event than other extension events and five (21.7%) indicated that it was not.

A follow-up question, “If yes, what are those things?” was also asked. Responses are below:

Different important topics are covered.

Because something else is taught.

We learn something new and understand a little more about the type of work we do.

New things are explained, and you learn more about processes.

I like the attention that the people that present these topics give to us. Because there are sufficiently prepared (knowledgeable) people presenting their programs. Note: I would like if in the future, you could organize a tour, like a group visit to more surrounding farms in the area, so that we could learn about experiences of different workplaces.

That there are good [speakers] and especially that everything is [presented] in Spanish.

That all the topics are in a language that I can understand very well.

I just answered ‘no’ because [the convention] is a little far away from where I live.

All the meetings are interesting, but this one particularly has new interesting topics.

Because new systems are presented.

Because [the session] is in the language that I understand and because of the people that organize [this meeting].

The speakers. The topics are excellent.

We learn more and we are invited [to this convention], [an invitation] is sent to the bosses.

I learn more and [the convention includes] more experiences.

This is the first time that I attend one, very good experience. Thank you!

 

Participants were also asked, “How does it make you feel to have Extension events developed especially for you?” to determine how targeted programming is received. Twenty people responded to the question.

Responses included:

It makes me feel important to be able to contribute.

At conferences, I feel comfortable with everyone.

I feel comfortable because it makes me feel confident about learning and job development.

In places, like conferences, where [presenters] explain [information] and teach, I feel comfortable with what is [presented].

Excellent and very educational; that [organizers] consider the Hispanic community and [recognize] the importance of our presence in this country.

It is something that makes me feel good, especially that [organizers] care about Latinos.

It makes me feel good that [organizers] care about including the Hispanic community.

I like these opportunities to continue learning very much.

It makes me feel good and I want to learn.

Good because I learn new things.

It makes me feel very happy that I am considered.

Personally, I feel very happy that I can learn about agriculture.

These workshops are very good.

Good

Good

Very good

Very good because [presenters] talk about many things.

Special, I am proud of organizers for making a big effort to provide us help and knowledge about different agricultural activities.

 

This survey only included a small portion of the Hispanic farmworker and farmer community and therefore cannot be used to direct larger scale outreach to this community. However, some outcomes warrant further attention.

Most respondents preferred to learn at their workplace or farm, with learning at educational events a distant second. It would be interesting to follow-up on this topic to determine what elements of learning at their workplace/farm is appealing. It may be because it is more convenient to learn at the workplace/farm, less costly, or for some other factor entirely. Once the elements of preferred learning environments are known, they may be incorporated more broadly to other learning spaces. Respondents viewed learning by listening and engagement nearly equally favorably. Incorporating both into programming may assist with creating a learning environment that targets these preferences. Targeted programming should also include topics important to the audience delivered by speakers who come to meetings prepared.

This targeted program was very well received by respondents. Based on responses, it made respondents feel valued (“It makes me feel important….”, “…it makes me feel confident…”, “…that [organizers] consider the Hispanic community and [recognize] the importance of our presence…”, “…it makes me feel good…”, “It makes me feel very happy…”, “Special…”). Many also expressed a sense of belonging with several using the word “comfortable”. By continuing to work on understanding the needs of this community, targeted programming can be developed that meets our overall goal of creating a sense of belonging for the Hispanic agricultural community in educational programming.

A refereed article based on methods used and information learned in this projected was published in 2019. The reference for the article is: 

Sánchez, E.S., M. Gorgo-Gourovitch, and L. Stivers. 2019. Creating a sense of belonging for Hispanic farmers and farmworkers in agricultural programming. HortTechnology 29:476-481.

It can be viewed here: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04336-19.

 

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.