Expanding Technical Assistance for Urban Agriculture: Best Practices for Extension Services in California and Beyond
AbstractPast studies have suggested the expansion of extension programs for urban agriculture (UA). With the growing interest in UA, the case for such programs is even stronger. In order to develop effective extension programs, it is important to begin with an understanding of the diversity of UA activities and the types of assistance that may be useful to operators. It is also important to explore whether extension staff are interested in expanding their programs in urban areas. This study sought to address these questions. It examined characteristics of UA in the study area, Alameda County, California; operators' challenges and assistance needs; and Extension staff members' interest in expanding programming for urban agriculture. Data was collected through the University of California Small Farm Program from 2006 to 2009, and consisted of on-site interviews with 52 urban farmers and gardeners as well as surveys of Extension staff members and participant observation, which took place throughout the study.
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