ACDC News – Issue 04-20


Cooperating in defense (and pleasure) of slow food.

We recently added to the ACDC collection a journal article about the formation of an international association, Slow Food, that promotes an unusual combination of “celebratory environmentalism.”
” Gastronomical pleasures – featuring unique local foods prepared with locally grown ingredients and creating a “firm defense of quiet material pleasure.”
” Environmental goals – protecting biodiversity and helping preserve thousands of endangered foods, plants and animals.

According to the article, food producers are part of the grassroots Slow Food groups that now number more than 700 in 83 countries.

Reference: Slow food
Author: Weismantel
Offered online at:

An example of farmer-led journalism.

A self-supporting monthly farm magazine in India has “established a unique niche for itself, based on a philosophy of farmer participation in the generation of information.” Adike Pathrike, more than 15 years old, uses subscription and advertising income for financial support.

A research paper from the Overseas Development Institute described four distinctive features of Adike Pathrike:
” Insistence on farmer verification of technologies described in the magazine
” An adaptive and iterative approach to technology
” Active encouragement of farmer-to-farmer communication
” A counterbalance of government and industry promotional campaigns

Reference: Reforming farm journalism
Authors: Padre, Shree; Sudarshana; and Tripp, Robert
Paper posted online at:

When the Big Depression hit farm publishing. 

Want a view of the U.S. farm press during hard times for agriculture in the 1920s and early 1930s? We recommend a 1933 master’s thesis added recently to the ACDC collection. Hubert W. Smith used content analyses and surveys among farm editors to examine the relation of the farm press to social and economic trends in agriculture.

His data revealed, for example, how advertising lineage in eight major farm periodicals fell dramatically. “…in 1932 some publications carried less than one-fifth as much advertising for the month of October as they did in 1929, and none of those considered arrived in 1932 at as much as half of their peak of the preceding five years.”

Reference: Relation of the farm press
Author: Smith, Hubert W.

Scientists more willing to open up? 

“I’ve noticed a change in scientists in dealing with the media,” said an environmental journalist at a recent workshop in India. “They are more willing to open up and are ready to talk with us about their research activities.”

The workshop on “Covering biotechnology: issues and opportunities for the news media” was organized by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Asian Media, Information Center of India and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Reference: South Asia journalists meet on biotech reporting
Posted online at:

Science journalists – crucial to development.

Participants at the recent 4th World Conference of Science Journalists in Montreal, Canada, heard that message from the leader of one of Canada’s leading aid agencies. Maureen O’Neil, president of the International Development Research Centre, argued that science journalists have a critical role to play in informing communities and influencing policymakers in the developing world.

“Journalism – and especially science journalism – can therefore make a significant contribution to ensuring that communities and their leaders implement programmes and decisions based on the best data, knowledge and evidence.”

Reference: Science journalists “play critical role in decision-making”
Author: Dickson, David
Posted online at:

Rural distance education – 125 years ago. 

Distance education carries new excitement and promise in an era of electronic, interactive technologies. However, the concept itself has deep roots, as evidenced by an article in Agricultural History. Author Julie R. Nelson examined distance education efforts the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle between 1878 and 1900.

The Circle, based in Plainfield, New Jersey, offered men and women in rural towns throughout the Midwest an innovative opportunity for a four-year “college” degree via a correspondence course of systematic home study. It was “one of the few practical means available for earning a four-year degree,” especially for rural women.

Reference: Subtle revolution
Author: Nelson

Narrowing the digital divide in Africa. 

Romeo Bertolini identified serious obstacles in a recent report, “Making information and communication technologies work for food security in Africa:”

  • “Limited access to telephone and electricity networks, especially in rural and remote areas. “Approximately 60 percent of African households do not have access to their national grid.”
  • “Scarcity of telecenters to offer broader ICT services and training”

Bertolini suggested steps for the public and private sectors in this report from the International Food Policy Research Institute. Suggestions included innovative ways of combining ICT-based information sources (such as agricultural information systems) with traditional ones (such as rural radio stations).

Reference: Making information and communication technologies work for food security in Africa
Posted online at:

Lesson for the country newspaper publisher.

This item from a 1906 issue of Agricultural Advertising [14(4) : 363] caught our eye:

  • “Once there was a country newspaper man who mixed sawdust with the meal that he fed his hens. He thought they would never know the difference. But they got even. When he came to set the eggs, half the brood hatched were woodpeckers.”
  • “Whatsoever a newspaper soweth that shall it also reap.”

Communicator activity approaching.

February 1, 2005
Deadline for electronic submissions of research papers to be presented at the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), San Antonio, Texas, May 31-June 4, 2005.

Best wishes and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for ACDC. 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 electronic form (at )


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