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Attracting immigrants and other minority groups to sustainable agriculture programs is the topic of a new online resource from Delaware State University

Posted: August 17, 2014

Two Delaware State University initiatives aimed at expanding risk-management knowledge and agricultural skills within immigrant and other minority communities in the Delmarva Peninsula offered researchers additional insight into approaches that work well to engage immigrant and minority groups with Extension programs. Their findings are presented in a research poster.

Poster: A Practical Approach to Attracting Immigrants and Other Minority Groups to Sustainable Agricultural Programs on the Delmarva Peninsula

Author: Andy Wetherill, Delaware State University, Cooperative Extension Programs

Abstract: Attracting immigrants and other minority producers to sustainable agricultural programs is one of the most challenging tasks faced by extension professionals. However, regular communication between extension professionals and minority communities may reveal great insight into how to reach and engage this  this emerging clientele.

From 2008 to 2012, the Delaware State University Small Farms Program stepped up efforts to expand economic opportunity to the minority and immigrant communities in Delaware. The goal was to bring socially disadvantaged groups to the farm table through a myriad of extension events. The objective was to increase the number of minorities who are growing and marketing agri-business products. Our experience  in working with minority communities  has taught us that  communicating and mingling with prospective participants at social events, and locating extension activities in close proximity to their  neighborhoods has resulted in increased target audience participation in extension events. It  allowed us to develop  better working relationships with them. In the early years, it was more beneficial to work with them face to face than via indirect contacts.

Over the past two years, Delaware State University has seen an increase in agricultural activity among minority groups, resulting in increased economic activity within the state.