Spanish-Language Resources

Collaborations with OSU Extension faculty increase Latinos’ access to OSU Extension educational materials.


Latinos accounted for 12 percent of Oregon's population in 2012 (U.S. Census). But segments of this important Extension audience can face learning barriers such as limited English and educational levels.

“Several of our Extension faculty have recognized that we need to reach Latinos and have requested that some of our materials be translated into Spanish,” said Ariel Ginsburg, an EESC publishing manager. “It's not enough to simply translate. We must tell Extension's story in culturally relevant and meaningful ways.”

Our Approach

Offering educational materials in Spanish isn’t new for EESC. In 2004, we helped OSU Extension family and community health faculty develop a game based on the traditional Mexican game, Lotería, to teach families about diabetes prevention. In 2005, the game won a national award for creative excellence from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Today, EESC is exploring new opportunities to reach Latinos. The publishing team is working with Luisa Santamaria and Chal Landgren, OSU Extension faculty at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, to develop two bilingual flipbooks on integrated pest management for Christmas tree production and export—two major industries in Oregon. The publications are designed for concurrent use by Spanish-speaking workers and their English-speaking supervisors. Next, EESC’s learning technology team will develop responsive, mobile-friendly websites for the flipbooks so workers can access the information in the field on smartphones.

In addition, Daniel McGrath, OSU Extension vegetable crops specialist, worked with publishing manager Dio Morales on a bilingual guide for treating beetles in snap beans.

“Dio and I experimented with the concept that there are differences in language skills in both directions,” said McGrath. “Farmers want to improve their technical knowledge of Spanish, and their employees want to improve their English.”

EESC designed the publication so the English and Spanish text is side by side on the same page, making it easier to see how words were translated.

“We felt it was important that managers and owners have access to this material in Spanish and English so that they can build better communication with their workers," Morales said.

Another Spanish-language publishing project with Santamaria focuses on producing posters for employee break rooms on nursery plant diseases and insect pests. The posters will help build workers’ ability to identify pests and the damage they cause early enough to avoid losses. EESC has also created Spanish-language publications for workers on dehorning calves and managing azalea lace bug, an emerging, destructive pest of azaleas and rhododendrons in Oregon.

Results and Impact

Here’s a sampling of the ever-growing collection of Spanish-language materials in the OSU Extension Catalog:

  • A Grower’s Guide to Pruning Highbush Blueberries is available as a DVD for purchase or as a free online video in English or Spanish.
  • Gardening publications, including El Control de Babosas (Controlling Slugs) and Cultive sus Propios Chiles (Grow Your Own Peppers), have been downloaded more than 11,000 times since late 2010.
  • Three publications instruct people on kitchen sanitation to prevent foodborne illness.
  • A set of bilingual, pictorial recipes is designed for a limited-income, low-literacy audience.
  • A postcard-sized identification guide uses text and pictures to help people identify the brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive and destructive pest.

“It’s easier for people to access the material when I can direct them to the catalog,” said Santamaria. “It especially helps that I can share a link and I don't have to go through the process of printing and mailing a publication myself.”

But there's still more we can do to reach Latinos. McGrath wants more audio.

“One of the dilemmas we have is that a lot of the clients we work with in agriculture are not print-focused in their learning style but come from more oral and relationship-based traditions,” he said. “In terms of impact I think we're limiting ourselves to those who would read pamphlets. We need to expand into podcasts, radio shows, and visuals."

EESC is already making progress in this area by translating the popular Living on the Land podcasts, which provide information for small-acreage landowners, into Spanish. That project is supported by a grant from the National Immigrant Farming Initiative.


OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center; OSU College of Agricultural Sciences; Integrated Plant Protection Center; National Immigrant Farming Initiative