Latino Youth Involved in Urban Community Gardening
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Since Latinos became the largest minority group in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), urban communities have experienced growth in Latino immigrants. This change in demographics helps fund employment opportunities in agribusiness, food processing, and harvesting of crops (Berry & Kirschner, 2002). This rapid growth of the Hispanic population has had, and will have, an important influence on the economic, political, and social life of the West, and on the nation as a whole. King County, Washington, has historically been a productive agricultural region with dairies, livestock operations, crop farms, and berry fields (King County, 2012). However, agriculture has decreased for many reasons, including urban encroachment, lack of technical support, high cost of land, and low profitability. These factors have discouraged young people from pursuing an agricultural career. In addressing those challenges, Washington State University Extension, through 4-H Youth Development, has designed and implemented an interactive agriculture program for youth. The program helps youth grow their knowledge of agriculture, environment, and natural resources. Youth learn that agriculture is everywhere and that many crops are used in food production. Furthermore, youth develop skills needed to achieve lifelong learning. The program includes gardening implementation in urban settings, which enhances the important role that agriculture plays in the national economy. www.cambio.missouri.edu/Library/ Keywords: immigrant population growth, urban agriculture, youth education
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