Immigrant farmer programs and social capital: evaluating community and economic outcomes through social capital theory

Lisa S. Hightower, Kim L. Niewolny, Mark A. Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

African immigrants in the USA experience high levels of poverty and underemployment. Many African immigrants are turning to farming to supplement their income and increase their access to healthy, culturally relevant food. Key to the success of many immigrant farmers is participation in new entry farmer programs which operate as social networks connecting participants to technical training, farming resources, and influential individuals in the community. Drawing upon social capital theory, this mixed methods study measures the economic and social outcomes of immigrant farmer programs as perceived by agricultural educators. Data were collected through a national survey and case studies of programs in Ohio and Virginia. Analyses found economic outcomes were associated with social network development and agency, while social outcomes were associated with trust and reciprocity. Recommendations are provided for community development practitioners interested in enhancing outcomes of immigrant programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-596
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Development
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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