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Cultivating inclusivity

Gardening webinar leads to growth of Spanish-language resources.

Juan Cabrera-Garcia, an MU Extension horticulture specialist in southeastern Missouri, with flowers in a greenhouse.

Juan Cabrera-Garcia, an MU Extension horticulture specialist in southeastern Missouri.

Oct. 14, 2020

By population, the United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Counting both bilingual and native speakers of Spanish, the U.S. has more people who can speak Spanish than Spain itself.

How do MU Extension specialists make sure they serve Missourians who speak Spanish?

“I first started doing a home gardening webinar series at the beginning of the year because of COVID-19 and potential food supply shortages,” said Juan Cabrera-Garcia, an MU Extension horticulture specialist in southeastern Missouri.

To date, the Spanish language webinar series has garnered more than 250 registrants from across the world, including Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras and Japan.

Post-event data showed than 83% of participants hadn’t previously heard of MU Extension. Now, the team is being sought after for more Spanish-language content collaboration. “We’re here to serve Missourians first,” Cabrera-Garcia said. “But you never know who your programming is going to impact or just how far your efforts could reach when people start spreading the word.”

Cabrera-Garcia hopes these efforts are just the beginning. Ultimately, he would like to be part of a nationwide network of extension specialists helping minority groups throughout the country.

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