Towards culturally relevant 4-H agriculture programming for urban youth: Identifying potential design principles and outcomes

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Historical context of African Americans within agriculture has produced negative perceptions of agriculture within African American populations today. Furthermore, many minority youth who reside in urban areas are disconnected from agriculture because of lack of access, limiting contact to food production systems to consumption. In rural areas that are dedicated to agriculture and farming, youth can witness agricultural principles daily and many of them have lived experiences with agriculture. Non-formal educational programming such as 4-H is beneficial for exposing and including urban youth into agricultural educational programming. 4-H programs can connect with schools, after school programs and other youth organizations in urban areas to reach youth but the needs of this audience must be attended to. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand design principles that can be beneficial in increasing urban youth participation in 4-H agricultural programming while also utilizing culturally relevant pedagogy facets within 4-H programming. Seven 4-H agents were interviewed with individual and focus group interviews. Descriptive coding, in-vivo coding, and value coding methods were utilized during first cycle coding. Literature from Gloria Ladson-Billing's theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) was utilized to frame the research questions, a priori table, and interview guides in the study. Findings from the study indicated that CRP facets were emerging in 4-H programming and within 4-H agents. Although, CRP facets are emergent, design principles for 4-H programs must be developed to ensure issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion is represented throughout all 4-H programs.



Cultural relevant pedagogy, youth development