- Education and Training: extension, workshop
- Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, community services
Latinos are the fastest growing group of farmers in the North Central Region and yet they and other rural Hispanics remain a substantially underserved audience. In order to increase the cultural competency of agricultural and other educators from Extension and the USDA to provide educational programs for Latinos, the project held six half-day workshops for 112 participants and three 1.5 day trainings for 49 participants during 2005-2006 in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri.
Evaluations showed that participants increased their understanding of strategies to reach Latino audiences and of the importance of culture and value systems in designing effective programs for Hispanics. During the 1.5 day trainings, educators also modified existing plans of work for Latino audiences. They also visited Latino-owned farms and businesses in Michigan, farms in Missouri and a Puerto Rican community center and urban horticulture program in Chicago, Illinois.
In order to further evaluate the impacts of the 1.5 day training, follow-up surveys designed to collect information on additional impacts and contributions of the project were sent to participants.
Those queried were asked to list educational programs for Latinos that they had implemented at least in part due to their participation in the SARE training. In Illinois data from the initial questionnaire, telephone interviews and an additional questionnaire were collected from 12 of the 16 participants from the 1.5 day training. Respondents had implemented Latino 4-H youth camps and clubs, programs focused on developing small business skills and Family Nutrition Program series for Hispanic audiences. A community based group, Latinos en Acción was initiated that coordinates activities with a neighboring county’s Latino organization in order to obtain grant monies. In another county, the Extension office applied and obtained an AmeriCorps/Vista volunteer to assist in development of a Latino community center. A participant in both the half and 1.5 day trainings led the development of statewide educational materials; other participants have developed materials on nutrition and obesity prevention.
Presentations about the SARE project were made a SARE August 2006 conference in Oconomowoc, WI; at a National Diversity Conference in 2006; and at the 2007 Cambio de Colores Conference in Kansas City, MO.
The Project has continued to have impacts almost a year and a half after the last SARE-funded training in May 2006. fro example, an Extension “Latino Interest Group” was formed in Illinois to exchange information and ideas and to provide mutual support for those committed to providing programs for Latinos. The group met initially in December, 2006, and subsequently held two TeleNet conferences. The second led to Professional Development Opportunity training in downstate Illinois in September, 2007. There were 17 Extension educators and administrators in attendance. The Latino Interest Group plans a third TeleNet session training for May, 2008.
The project identified a number of short-term outcomes. These are listed below with information relevant to each outcome. The data are based on surveys filled out following each training re changes in knowledge, awareness or skills. Participants were asked to assess their knowledge, etc both pre- and post training, by indicating their degree of agreement with different statements, such as “I have a working knowledge of Latino community concerns and challenges.”
The survey results showed that participants felt that as a result of the training they had increased their knowledge, awareness or skills considerably, which should increase their capacities to work with Latino audiences. For all topics addressed in the surveys, between 70-90% of the participants disagreed-somewhat agreed that they already had specific, relevant knowledge, awareness or skills prior to the workshop; between 70-90% somewhat agreed-agreed that they had (gained) the knowledge, etc following the training. These half-day workshops are only a beginning and by themselves will have limited impact on relevant, effective programming by Extension and other agencies. For this reason, one and a half-day Institutes were planned for 2006, with the idea that they will serve as follow-up training for the 2005 workshop participants. Outcome: Greater awareness of characteristics and needs of Latino farmers, families and communities.
There were three statements relevant to this outcome. In response to the statement “I have a basic awareness of characteristics and needs of members of Latino communities,” regarding pre-workshop knowledge 83% of participants disagreed to somewhat agreed, while 85% somewhat agreed to agreed regarding post-workshop awareness. In other words, the vast majority of participants indicated that they had relatively little awareness prior to the workshop and about the same percent indicated that they increased their awareness after the workshop. In response to the statement “I have a basic understanding of the culture and values of members of Latino families and communities,” 72% of participants disagreed-somewhat agreed with this statement with respect to before the workshop, whereas 87% somewhat agreed–agreed with respect to after the workshop. Regarding the statement, “I have a basic understanding of Latino/Hispanic culture and contributions to society,” 77% disagreed or somewhat agreed with this statement with respect to their understanding prior to the workshops; whereas 83% somewhat agreed or agreed with respect to their post-workshop understanding.
Outcome: Increased knowledge of non-traditional methods to reach Latino audiences.
In response to the statement “I have a basic understanding of effective methods to provide information to Latino audiences,” 80% disagreed-somewhat agreed that they had the knowledge prior to the training; whereas 80% somewhat agreed-agreed that they did after the workshops.
Outcome: Increased knowledge of Latino community concerns and challenges.
In response to the statement “I have a working knowledge of Latino community concerns and challenges,” 87% disagreed-somewhat agreed that they did prior to the training; whereas 92% somewhat agreed-agreed that they did after the workshops. Regarding the statement “I am confident that I have the knowledge needed to increase involvement of Latinos in my programs,” 82% of participants disagreed-somewhat agreed that they had the knowledge needed prior to training; while 77% somewhat agreed to agreed that they were confident in their knowledge following training.
Outcome: Improving skills to assist members of Latino agricultural communities to identify their needs and access information relevant to sustainable farming via programs offered by Extension, NRCS and other agencies.
In response to the statement “I am confident that I can design and develop appropriate programs for Latino audiences,” 87% of participants disagreed-somewhat agreed that they had the skills needed prior to training; whereas 77% somewhat agreed to agreed that they had the skills after training. Lastly, 88% of participants disagreed-somewhat agreed with the statement “I am confident that I can develop plans of work that will involve greater numbers of Latinos,” with respect to before the workshop; whereas 86% somewhat agreed to agreed with respect to after the workshop. It is probably relevant that one of the workshop activities was to begin modifying plans of work while working in small groups.
1. greater awareness of characteristics and needs of Latino farmers, families and communities,
2. increased knowledge of non-traditional methods to reach Latino audiences,
3. improved knowledge of Latino community concerns and challenges,
4. improved skills to assist members of Latino farmers/communities to identify their needs and access information relevant to sustainable farming via programs offered by Extension, NRCS and other agencies,
5. participants make transformational changes in attitudes towards Latinos.
Intermediate Outcomes/Educator Behavior and Practices:
1. greater number of sustainable agricultural and other educational programs for rural Latinos,
2. agricultural and other educators seek additional resources regarding Latino culture and communities,
3. increased number of extension statewide plans of work for educational programs for Latino farmers in sustainable agriculture.
Long-Term Outcomes/Systemic Changes:
1. agriculture and other educators include Latinos in regular programming in sustainable agriculture and other topics,
2. increased participation of Latino farmers, youth and families in programs offered by Extension, NRCS, etc.,
3. extension councils integrate Latino representatives into program planning process.