By John Diaz
CAFE Latino (Coalition of Florida Extension Educators for Latino Communities) is here to help in many ways.
For those who do not know who we are, we are a unique grassroots effort. We are designed to connect the Hispanic and Latino population in Florida with resources, education, and training provided by UF/IFAS Extension offices throughout the state.
We are an arm of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences made up of 45 extension faculty and we are growing. Currently, the team of faculty member volunteers represent a range of expertise in agriculture, natural resources, 4-H youth development, lawn and garden, and more. Café Latino exists to promote cultural awareness, diversity, and inclusion in a state where the Hispanic and Latino population continues to grow.
Last time I checked, there are almost 5 million Latinos and Hispanics living and working in Florida according to the Pew Research Center. With the census currently being conducted, those numbers may dramatically change.
The call for Café Latino originated from a desire to equip UF/IFAS Extension offices in all 67 counties with the tools they need to support this very diverse group. In order to remain relevant and serve the needs of our Hispanic and Latino neighbors, UF/IFAS Extension is working to enhance the cultural competency of our personnel and to design programming that reaches, engages and benefits people across all cultures.
What does this mean? We are here to connect our target audience to relevant information. This ranges from coordinating translation services to developing training opportunities that promote cultural competency.
Here are some of our most recent successful efforts that we continue to provide and enhance:
- Develop and promote Spanish translations of COVID-19 materials as it relates to public safety and food safety for agriculture workers for a variety of organizations including UF/IFAS,
- Foster relationships that forge direct connections between Latino, Hispanic communities, groups, and national and regional organizations such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National 4-H, Florida Farm Bureau,
- Development of translated educational materials for the Home Flow curriculum that provides home safety guidelines for first-time homebuyers.
- Videos developed to train the trainers in the community on hydroponic agriculture as an alternative for growers as the price of land increases in South Florida and across the state;
- Development of relationships and curriculum materials for the Florida Department of Education to benefit K-12 specifically designed to enhance and train agriculture teachers on building hydroponic curriculum led by Café Latino members with expertise in agriculture.
CAFE Latino is your connection to the cutting-edge research that UF/IFAS is conducting. During times of crisis such as hurricane season, and the current COVID-19 epidemic, we serve to connect the Hispanic and Latino community with the resources, networks, and solutions to the issues faced.
We ask you to connect with us via the following channels: