- Sustainable Communities: community planning, public policy, disaster management
The frequency and intensity of recent disasters have further compounded and exacerbated cultural gaps. There is need for a better understanding of strategies that enlarge the extent to which marginalized populations are aware of and prepare for disasters (Cooper and Masterson, 2017). In 2017, the 1890-Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Advisory Group (AG) was created to fully engage 1890-Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) into EDEN and its resources. The 1890-EDEN mission is to strengthen the capacity of Extension at 1890 LGUs and the communities they serve in all phases of disaster planning for and responding to disasters with research-based education. This proposal opportunity will allow the AG to build capacity to provide education and training related to the newest NIFA Knowledge Area (KA 807). 1890 Land-Grant institutions traditionally have low participation rates with SARE’s R&E program. Hence, if funded, this project will allow these institutions to work collaboratively with Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers (HUFRs) to enhance disaster education programming. The partnership will help producers to mitigate loss of quality products they produce, maintain operations, sustain their families and communities, build disaster resilience and improve overall quality of life. In addition, working with the various local, state and federal agencies, and private sector partners will generate new insights and/or perspectives on how to provide culturally relevant information on disaster management practices for vulnerable populations in rural areas.
This project will assess the role culture plays in how HUFRs prepare for, cope with and respond to disasters. Three major elements will be examined; they are: 1) farmer perceptions, belief systems, social and family relations, 2) professional disaster related agencies interaction, and 3) socio-economic/policy environmental challenges. There is a need to understand how culture influences processes around these parameters in times of disaster, and subsequently affects the day-to-day activities of HUFRs. The research will address cultural gaps by exploring the impacts of disasters with respect to person, place and profession. It is widely known that limited resource audiences are disproportionately impacted by disasters. In addition, the agriculture and rural sectors play critical roles as sources of food, employment, raw materials and the marketing of agricultural products (Sivakumar, 2008). Hence, gaining an understanding about the challenges HUFRs face in times of disaster is critical to developing mechanisms that can help them to better cope during disasters.
In this study, the AG will employ a knowledge system utilizing culture as the lens to create a snapshot of the vulnerabilities HUFRs face during disasters, examine how they respond, and outline steps needed to mitigate disasters impacts. The research team will use Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in a multiple-case study research design. This project will demonstrate how HUFRs, extension personnel, university administration, professional disaster agencies and policymakers can collaborate to create sustainable communities and improve quality of life for producers and residents.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Identify cultural challenges HUFRs face with regards to disasters
- Determine how cultural factors influence HUFRs behavior and decisions they make during disasters, and consequently how research, extension and academics can intervene to influence the HUFRs posture around emergency management
- Develop research-based recommendations, best practices and procedures to lay the foundation for a proposed 1890 Disaster Training Academy
- Create disaster materials, publications and programs that are culturally sensitive to producers, and disseminated throughout venues such as the SARE Learning Center, national EDEN, 1890 Association of Research Directors (ARD), and the 1890 Association of Extension Administrators (AEA)
- Assess the level of interaction between HUFRs and professional agricultural agencies, as well as state and federal agencies