ACDC News – Issue 08-15

New campaign for local gardening (at the White House). A recent article we added to the ACDC collection from the Boston Globe described a campaign to get a kitchen garden growing on the White House lawn.  Author Ellen Goodman explained that Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International “is pushing for edible landscapes everywhere from schoolyards to governor’s mansions to empty urban plots.  But Doiron set his eyes on everybody’s house, the White House.”  His campaign urges the presidential candidates to pledge they’ll turn a piece of the 18-acre White House terrain into an edible garden.

Actually, Doiron argues, this will be a return rather than something new.

  • John Adams, the first president to live in the White House, had a garden to feed his family.
  • Woodrow Wilson had a Liberty Garden and sheep grazing during World War I.
  • The Roosevelts had a Victory Garden during World War II.

Title: Growing at the White House

Posted at

The darker side of recent developments in communications. A background paper for the World Congress on Communication for Development identified several new issues and challenges in the past decade.  They relate to global liberalization of media, rapid economic and social changes, and emergence of new information and communication technologies.  What does this mean for those living in many rural areas?  The report suggested:

  • Liberalization of media “has led not only to greater media freedoms, but also to the emergence of an increasingly consumer led and urban centered communication infrastructure, which is less and less interested in the concerns of the poor.”
  • A general global trend towards greater media freedom sometimes “has been confined largely to urban metropolitan middle classes rather than the population as a whole.”
  • Women and other vulnerable groups – and rural populations in general – “continue to suffer marginalization in and from communication networks, and evidence of the scale of discrimination within the media itself is growing.”

Title: Communication for sustainable development

Posted at:

Impact of the farm press .  Hal Taylor, former deputy director of communications for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, recently passed along this report.

“Years ago when I ramrodded commercial interests for the USDA Centennial, the USDA historian Wayne Rasmussen told me there wouldn’t have been much interest ever in agriculture as a possible cabinet department had it not been for the pressures brought on by the agricultural press which was quite active in the Philadelphia area in the late 1700s.  Rasmussen also was quite interested in the organization then called “AAACE” and often said it was really an off-shoot of the 1790s when interests were so high in getting a cabinet office established.  Finally, as you know, Abe Lincoln got the cabinet office planned and a Secretary was named as a cabinet officer a few years later.”

We appreciate this piece of history about influences of the farm press and welcome other examples or references you may be able to provide.  Send them to us at .

Teaching a fresh view of “outsourcing” and international cooperation. Think about this. Students in a Midwestern U. S. university class on computers and community were assigned to experience being offshore web-designers for a handloom weaver located in rural South India. Furthermore, the students had no prior knowledge about computer programming or website construction.

This innovative assignment helped students gain a fresh perspective on who is “developed” and how to communicate and operate across cultures.  Radhika Gajjala (in the U. S.) and Annapurna Mamidipudi (in India) were the collaborating teachers.  They reported on their project at a meeting of the World Forum on Information Society.

Title: Who is “developed” and who is not?

Abstract posted at

How rural Americans are perceived . Rural Americans are most often perceived as extremes, according to a campaign-oriented video from the Center for Rural Strategies.  The Center, located at Whitesburg, Kentucky, is a communications organization that seeks to improve rural life by increasing public understanding about the importance and value of rural communities.

You can view the brief presentation at:

The growing angst in rural-urban relations .  Agricultural journalists around the globe are facing an expanding menu of rural-urban issues to cover, according to a recent analysis. Owen Roberts, University of Guelph, and Jim Evans of the ACDC staff sketched this challenge in a recent issue of IFAJ eNews from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. They identified more than 100 rural-urban issues calling for coverage in categories such as these:

  • Differences in what people know and believe
  • Lifestyle issues
  • Equity issues
  • Infrastructure issues
  • Natural resource issues
  • Policy issues
  • Property rights and wealth distribution issues

Title: The growing angst in rural-urban relations

You can review the feature online at

Communicator activities approaching

September 10-14, 2008
“From the mountains to the sea.”  2008 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) to take place in Austria and Slovenia.
October 1, 2008
Deadline for submission of papers for the Agricultural Communication Section of the 2009 conference of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists.
Information: > “Call for Papers for 2009 meeting”
October 2-4, 2008
“Growing beyond the ordinary.”  Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) to take place in Courtenay, British Columbia.
October 15-18, 2008
Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Houston, Texas USA.
November 12-14, 2008
“Making waves, lifting tides.”  Annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

More groaners from the lexophiles (lovers of words). We close this issue of ACDC News with yet another set of head-shaking insights that touch on food, agriculture and communications. Are you ready?

  • Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  • When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

Can you add to this sad collection?  Send them to us at .

Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to .

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can’t gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching.  We will help you gain access.

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