Building Capacity to Engage Latinos in Local Food Systems in the Heartland

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $75,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Gerad Middendorf
Kansas State University

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems


    This project has targeted professional educators and technical service providers in Iowa and Kansas within Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies. Multicultural training sessions and experiential learning have provided participants with an increased awareness of the Latino culture and community, particularly in relation to local food systems. Immersion experiences for participants included regional site visits to meet local people from the immigrant, business and agricultural communities. These activities provided participants an opportunity to improve their skills in engaging Latino audiences, identifying local markets and developing strategies for sustained support programs for Latino farm families.

    Project objectives:

    The expected outcomes for this project have been framed as short-, intermediate- and long-term, and are listed here:

    1. Short-Term Outcomes. Professionals will gain the following awareness, knowledge, attitudes and skills:

    • Increased awareness of Latinos as valued community members and current/future farmers,

      Improved skills in engaging Latino audiences
      Awareness of economic opportunities in local food systems,

      Improved understanding and skills in assessing, analyzing and gaining resources for local food production systems,

      Improved understanding and skills in marketing and business development strategies, including value added, appropriate to local food systems,

      Ability to integrate knowledge and skills described above to develop a strategy for sustained support programs.

    2. Intermediate-Term Outcomes. As a result of new awareness, knowledge, attitudes and skills, professionals will develop the following new behaviors, practices and policies, in collaboration with Latino farm families and local leaders:

    • Identify and respond to the goals of local Latino farm families,

      Develop and implement a farmer mentoring system,

      Develop and implement production practices that contribute to local food systems,

      Identify and connect to local markets,

      Develop strategies for maintaining engagement, education and technical services in support of Latino farm families,

      Develop and maintain new, multi-stakeholder partnerships engaged in local food system development.

    3. Long-Term Outcomes (systemic changes, not within the time-frame of this project). Changes in educator behavior, practices and policies will, in the long term, lead to the following systemic changes (in the next 3-5 years but not in the time-frame of this project):

    • Successful Latino farmers engaged in local food systems,

      Sustained institutional engagement in education and technical services in support of Latino farm families.

    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.