Building Social Equity into Agriculture and Food Systems Extension

Progress report for WSP19-025

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $28,686.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G118-21-W7506
Grant Recipient: University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program
Region: Western
State: California
State Coordinators:
Dr. Sonja Brodt
University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program
Co-Coordinators:
Shosha Capps
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
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Project Information

Abstract:

This project will build on the 2017-2018 California PDP project, which is providing a one-time racial equity training workshop for extension professionals. This project will build a community of practice around social and racial justice in agricultural and food systems extension, and provide on-going training and networking opportunities on this topic. A series of webinars with experts and experienced extension professionals, an in-person training coupled with a visit to a farm operated by farmers of color, and an ongoing e-mail group will help extension professionals to continue to work together and support one another in honing the skills needed to foster constructive relationships of trust with farmers and ranchers of color. Successful sustainable agriculture extension that is holistic and context-specific requires close engagement with producers in a way that respects their cultural context and experiential knowledge. By learning how to achieve such mutually constructive relationships, extension professionals in California will help make extension services more widely accessible and responsive to the needs of the growing numbers of producers of color, who have historically been underserved by extension institutions.

Project Objectives:

Objectives:

  1. Increase knowledge and skills among California extension professionals around building constructive working relationships with producers of color and immigrant producers through a series of educational webinars (2020), one in-person event (2020), and at least one extension-focused peer reviewed publication (throughout 202o).
  2. Foster the development of a supportive community of practice among California extension professionals who are committed to better engaging traditionally underserved producers in California, including producers of color and immigrant producers, by hosting regular learning and networking opportunities (throughout 2020).
  3. Document and share lessons learned broadly through at least one extension-focused peer reviewed publication (2021).

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dan Macon (Educator and Researcher)
  • Rachel Surls (Educator and Researcher)
  • Sara Frazer
  • Cynthia Daley (Educator)
  • Hud Minshew

Education

Educational approach:

This project utilizes three educational approaches.

The first is a series of educational webinars on specific topics identified as areas of need by farmers and extension professionals during SAREP’s previous programmatic work. Webinar speakers will include both extension professionals and community experts. These webinars are intended to increase knowledge and skills among extension professionals in how to better collaborate with and serve socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The second approach is the facilitation of a Community of Practice among extension professionals in California who are committed to applying principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) across their organizations and in their programmatic work. This Community of Practice will provide opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration with the goal of improving extension services for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

The third approach is a peer-reviewed publication documenting and sharing lessons learned.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Community of Practice
Objective:

Foster the development of a supportive community of practice among California extension professionals who are committed to better engaging traditionally underserved producers in California, including producers of color and immigrant producers, by hosting regular learning and networking opportunities

Description:

In collaboration with extension colleagues across the state, SAREP coordinated 11 monthly meetings of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Alliance of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) from March 2020 — January 2021. SAREP also coordinated the development of multiple subcommittees (ongoing) and project teams (time limited) to address priority issues identified during these monthly meetings, including:

DEI Subcommittees:

  • DEI Strategic Planning
  • DEI Policy
  • Workforce Diversification
  • DEI Learning
  • DEI Alliance Coordination and Outreach Committee

DEI Project Teams:

  • DEI Web Communications
  • DEI Affinity Groups Development
  • Diversity & Inclusion Style Guide Development
  • DEI Program Team Planning
  • Anti-racism Resources Review

These committees and project teams each met approximately every 2 weeks from March 2020 – January 2021 and reported back on progress during the monthly DEI Alliance meetings. Through the DEI Alliance and affiliated subcommittees and project teams, extension professionals across the state are building the capacity of both their institutions and their programming to better serve the needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

 

Professional Development
Objective:

Increase knowledge and skills among California extension professionals around building constructive working relationships with producers of color and immigrant producers.

Description:

SAREP is currently in the process of planning a series of 6 webinars on topics identified through interviews with producers and extension professionals, discussions with the DEI Alliance, and prior programmatic work as high priority for increasing knowledge and skills among California extension professionals to better serve systematically disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. These webinars are expected to take place March-June 2020.

Educational & Outreach Activities

61 Community of Practice meetings (DEI Alliance meetings) - 11
Subcommittee and project team meetings - 50

Participation Summary

50 Extension

Project Outcomes

11 New working collaborations

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

We have promoted WSARE as the funder of this project through our collaboration and coordination activities with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alliance of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DEI Alliance). The DEI Alliance comprises approximately 50 members of UC Cooperative Extension and other UC staff across the state committed to increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of extension organizations and programming in California.

50 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
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.