Marion County Extension created the Empower Ocala Garden project to increase participation among low-income minority populations and address "food desert" conditions around its office. The project built trusting relationships, created a community garden for 12 households, and provided bi-weekly garden skills trainings. Participation, attitudinal changes, and knowledge gains were evaluated using pre- and post-project questionnaires. On average participants attended 53.4% of sessions. Attitudes improved by 9.82% across four gardening-related indicators, while knowledge increased by 19.57% across eight indicators. Overall, the project successfully engaged new clients, positively changed attitudes and knowledge, and may benefit other Extension professionals serving these audiences.
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Moore, A., Samuel, N., & Israel, G. (2014). Improving Participation of Non-Traditional Extension Audiences: The Empower Ocala Garden Project. The Journal of Extension, 52(5), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.52.05.01