Kristina Hains
University of Kentucky
Jeff Young
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension
Addie Reinhard
University of Kentucky
Bryan Hains
University of Kentucky


Urban Extension
urban clusters
urban programming
urban engagement

How to Cite

Hains, K., Young, J., Reinhard, A., & Hains, B. (2021). Reconsidering Extension: Defining Urban Extension in Kentucky. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9(2), 191-205. Retrieved from


As the vast majority of the population in the United States shifts to dwelling within large population centers, it is necessary to examine the responsibility and role that Cooperative Extension has to serve urban communities. Throughout its history, the land-grant system, through Cooperative Extension, has demonstrated the ability to impact the lives of individual citizens and communities positively. Within this theoretical discussion, we illuminate Cooperative Extension’s responsibility to serve urban communities in the 21st Century and highlight essential milestones in the development of urban Extension throughout the past 100 years. Also, we explore the foundations and relevance of recently developed urban Extension frameworks to the practice of urban Extension and outline a process utilized to define urban for Cooperative Extension within {southern state}. Finally, we conclude by examining examples of urban Cooperative Extension initiatives and discussing their implications in broader social, environmental, and health settings.



Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities Committee on Problems of Urban Educational Extension. (1954). A study of problems and practices of Cooperative and general Extension services in land-grant colleges and universities and non-land-grant state universities: Senate committee on problems of urban educational Extension for the Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities.

Bothell, J., Gaudio, M., & Gray, S. (2017). Healthful homes for urban youths and families. Journal of Extension, 55(2).

Bovitz, L., Staffen, M., Eppinger, L., & Kesely, A. (2018). Best practices for establishing positive 4-H youth development programming in urban at-risk communities. Journal of Extension, 56(1).

Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service [CSREES]. (1996). Urban Extension: A national agenda –A report of the National Extension Urban Task Force.,%20A%20National%20Agenda.pdf

Diekmann, L., Bennaton, R., Schweiger, J., & Smith, C. (2017). Involving Extension in urban food systems: An example from California. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 70–90.

Fehlis, C. P. (1992). Urban Extension programs. Journal of Extension, 30(2).

Ford Foundation. (1966). Urban Extension: A report on experimental programs assisted by the Ford Foundation.

Fox, J. M., Ruemenapp, M. A., Proden, P., & Gaolach B. (2017). A national framework for urban Extension. Journal of Extension, 55(5).

Gaolach, B., Kern, M., & Sanders, C. (2017). Urban Extension: Aligning with the needs of urban audiences through subject-matter centers. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 126–144.

Henning, J., Buchholz, D., Steele, D., & Ramaswamy, S. (2014). Milestones and the future for Cooperative Extension. Journal of Extension, 52(6).

Hillison, J. (1996). Agriculture education and Cooperative Extension: The early agreements. Journal of Agricultural Education, 37(1), 9–14.

Joint USDA-NASULGC Extension Study Committee. (1968). A people and a spirit: A report of the joint USDA-NASULGC Study Committee on Cooperative Extension.

Lee, B. A., & Hughes, L. A. (2015). Bucking the trend: Is ethnoracial diversity declining in American communities? Population Research and Policy Review, 34(1), 113–139.

Loibl, C., Diekmann, F., & Batte, M. T. (2010). Does the general public know the Extension service? A survey of Ohio residents. Journal of Extension, 48(2).

Miller, J. C. (1988). What’s their perception? Journal of Extension, 26(1).

National Urban Extension Leaders. (n.d.). Strengthen communities.

National Urban Extension Leaders. (2015). A national framework for urban Extension: A report from the National Urban Extension Leaders.

National Urban Extension Leaders. (2019). National Urban Extension initiative: Implementation plan.

Obropta, C. (2017). Community-based green infrastructure: A Rutgers Cooperative Extension Urban Extension initiative. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 91–102.

Olson, K. A. (2013). Smith-Lever Extension celebrates its centennial. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 105(4), 7–16.

Paulson, B. (1973). Status of Extension’s urban programming. Journal of Extension, 11(1), 23–34.

Pew Research Center. (2018). What unites and divides urban, suburban and rural communities.

Reynolds, K. (2011). Expanding technical assistance for urban agriculture: Best practices for Extension service in California and beyond. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(3), 197–216.

Ruemenapp, M. A. (2017). America’s changing urban landscape: Positioning Extension for success. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 6¬–21.

Steele, S. M. (1981). Cooperative Extension programming in nine metropolitan counties 1980-1981. University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Surls, R., Feenstra, G., Golden, S., Galt, R., Hardesty, S., Napawan, C., & Wilen, C. (2015). Gearing up to support urban farming in California: Preliminary results of a needs assessment. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 30(1), 33–42.

Tiffany, J. S. (2017). Extension in the city: Meeting the challenges of scale. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 37–54.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2019a). Geography program: 2010 census urban and rural classification and urban area criteria.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2019b). Urban and rural areas.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (2019). Urban influence codes.

Warner, L. A., Vavrina, C. S., Campbell, M. L., Elliott, M. L., Northrop, R. J., & Place, N. T. (2017). A strategic plan for introducing, implementing, managing, and monitoring an urban Extension platform. Journal of Extension, 55(3).

Warner, P. D., Christenson, J. A., Dillman, D. A., & Salant, P. (1996). Public perception of Extension. Journal of Extension, 34(4).

Young, J. A., & Jones, K. (2017). Urban Extension: Reflections on the past – A look to the future. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 5(2), 145–157.

Young, J., & Vavrina, C. (2014). Kentucky’s urban Extension focus. Journal of Extension, 52(3).

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.