ACDC News – Issue 06-18

The Elvis of E. coli – still singing. 

Want to hear some lively food safety songs by Carl Winter, a toxicologist at the University of California? Earlier, we mentioned his unusual approach to public education, putting his wording to contemporary tunes. You can listen to snippets of samples aired recently during an interview on National Public Radio.

Can you guess the tunes from the rhythm of the words?  

“Goin’ to be a stomach ache tonight”
“Don’t get sickie wit’ it”
“I will survive”
“That’s how you wash your hands”

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Citizen juries used in rural India.

Various institutions in India are using citizen juries to involve a diverse array of farmers, food processors and marketers, consumers, government officials, scientists and others in discussions about current rural issues. An article in Leisa Magazine reported on procedures and results involving two juries. One assessed the pros and cons of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in small scale farming in India. The other examined three visions of farming and food processing for the next 20 years.

In both uses of this participatory method, jury members listened to testimony and cross-examined witnesses, then developed and presented their verdict.

Title: Citizen juries on GMOs and farming future in India 
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Update on rural broadband access in the U.S. 

Twenty-four percent of rural Americans had high-speed internet connections at home at the end of 2005, according to a daily tracking survey for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. This compared with 39 percent of urban/suburban dwellers and revealed a continuing gap in access and adoption.

The 10-page summary also identified sources of broadband access, frequency and intensity of online use, and the kinds of activities for which rural residents use the internet.

Title: Rural broadband internet use 
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Role of government in rural broadband internet.

Ashley Ruiz analyzed this dimension during 2004 in a 31-page report that focused on:

•  Size and nature of the rural-urban digital divide
•  Effectiveness of previous and current federal programs
•  Commonalities in rural electrification and broadband deployment
•  Diverging views about the role of government
•  Types of government support

Title: Broadband internet and rural America 
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A barn-raising for community rural radio.

We recently identified a report about a “barn raising” that birthed a low-power FM station for a community-based farmworker organization in southwest Florida. In a two-day period, associates of the Prometheus Radio Project helped the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) construct a building and put Radio Conciencia on the air.

“In the past two days, we had experienced the magic of community collaboration. In a time when the airwaves are becoming increasingly monopolized, Radio Conciencia represents an accessible space and a powerful local resource, as well as a viable model for other communities.”

Title: Barn-raising on air 
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Six special qualities of those who photograph the farmworker story. 

Richard Steven Street, in his recent book entitled Photographing farmworkers in California, identified what he considered six resonating qualities “rarely found together:”

  1. Profound sincerity and complete dedication.
  2. Refusal to pander to cruelty.
  3. Shared belief that the most interesting photography is human photography.
  4. An easy union of aesthetics and politics, pictorial structure and content, seen in tender faces or grizzled hands, making it impossible to ignore even the subject’s most gritty and disturbing circumstances.
  5. Concern for the broad range of human experience that rejects no detail as mundane or insignificant.
  6. Willingness to confront reality. “To reveal the essence of a moment one must see it first; and to best see it, one must walk right up to it and face it head-on.”

Title: Photographing farmworkers in California

An alternative perspective on competition.

In an era of competitive, winner-take-all striving it is unusual to see the perspective offered by Jane Vella in her book about the power of dialogue in educating adults. Vella described her experiences in rural and other settings around the world. She said she puts learners to work in teams and soon sees evidence of competition among the teams. However, she explained:

“…not a destructive competition but a natural com petition, asking together how the job could be done well, done better ( com: with, petition: asking).”

Title: Learning to listen, learning to teach

Communicator activities approaching

October 8-11, 2006
“Delivering information for the new life sciences.” U. S. Agricultural Information Network conference at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

October 12-13, 2006
“Newspapers and community-building.” Twelfth annual symposium co-sponsored by the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the National Newspaper Association Foundation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

October 25-27, 2006
World Congress on Communication for Development in Rome, Italy. Organized by the Development Communication Division, World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and The Communication Initiative.

October 25-29, 2006
Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Burlington, Vermont USA. Information:

November 9-11, 2006
Fifth Conference of the Asian Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture. (AFITA) in Bangalore, India.

November 15-17, 2006
“Farm and rural horizons.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

A closing note on dieting. 

Why not have it all? We close this issue of ACDC News with a dieter’s dream, an oxymoronic observation from Arthur Baer:

“She used to diet on any kind of food she could lay her hands on.”

Please get in touch with us when you see in this collection interesting items you cannot find, locally or online.

Reach us at Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

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 electronic form at

September 2006

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