Sandlin, M. R. & Perez, K. (2017). Evaluation of an annual community-focused agricultural literacy event. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 293-309. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.03293
Agricultural literacy programs are effective pathways to informally teach the public about agriculture through stakeholder (attendee and exhibitor) interaction. Such programs are generally evaluated using attendee feedback but fail to include exhibitors’ experience. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a local community agricultural event by (a) exploring attendee agricultural literacy, purchasing behavior, and overall experience at the event, and (b) exploring exhibitor experiences at the same event. Attendees and exhibitors were given electronic surveys to provide quantitative and qualitative feedback as it pertained to the event’s educational programming aspects. Attendees reported positive attitudes and perceptions of locally produced agricultural goods. Exhibitors reported satisfaction with the event and found the interactive digital scavenger hunt to be an effective way to interact with attendees and increase exposure to their business. Suggestions from attendees and exhibitors were concerned with pre-event communication and event logistics. The findings identify areas where education could be beneficial (e.g., nutritional information, impact of purchasing locally grown agricultural products, and where to find/purchase locally grown agricultural products). We recommend including attendee and exhibitor feedback to evaluate and improve similar agricultural literacy programs to guide marketing strategies and to better engage attendees and exhibitors with integrated learning activities.