ACDC News – Issue 07-16

We need to fall in love with our hometowns. 

So argued Jay Walljasper in a 2006 Technology and Society article about what some have begun to call a movement for great public spaces. Look to Europe, he observed:

  • “What explains the fact that most European cities gracefully end at some point, giving way to green countryside at their edges, unlike the endless miles of sprawl in America ?” How is it that public spaces and street culture feel so much richer there? Why do you seldom see slums?”
  • Europeans are taking action to maintain the vitality of their hometowns, he observed – reversing urban decay, protecting historic neighborhoods, improving transit systems, creating green spaces, protecting historic areas.
  • “Most cities now have bustling pedestrian zones, and bikeways crisscross even the most crowded metropolises.”

What does it take? According to Walljasper, “Anyone joining this burgeoning movement to improve public places soon discovers the key issue is not urban planning or transportation priorities but love.”

Title: How to fall in love with your hometown

“Strong news releases – more important than ever” 

Is the title of a feature we helped prepare recently for members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). Authors Owen Roberts and Jim Evans explained how electronic technologies give news releases “an unprecedented avenue” to readers and listeners. Drawing upon varied sources, they also identified tips for preparing strong news releases – and some sure-fire ways to drive editors crazy.

Title: Strong news releases – more important than ever
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Why public views of food biotechnology may vary so greatly among countries.

Research reported earlier this year in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research examined the influence of cultural factors on public attitudes in Germany and the USA. An analysis of a cross-cultural survey identified two cultural factors that help explain why public views of food biotechnology vary so greatly between these cultures.

  • Concepts of nature. Authors found appreciation of nature a predictor of attitudes in both countries. “The higher appreciation of nature in Germany partly explains why attitudes toward food biotechnology are more negative in Germany than in the USA.”
  • General trust in institutions. Authors found the relationship between trust and attitudes more complex than expected. “Institutional trust is a moderate predictor of attitudes toward food biotechnology in the USA but not in Germany.”

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Top 10 food trends among American consumers.

“Today’s food trends – and Americans’ demands for increased variety in their diets – are as diverse as the U. S. population.” So reported Food Technology in presenting the Top 10 Food Trends of 2007:

  1. Dining in
  2. Food talk
  3. Form and function
  4. Sense appeal
  5. Kidding around
  6. Doing without
  7. Local motions
  8. Seriously healthy
  9. Next-generation beverages
  10. Snacking and sharing

Title: Top 10 food trends mirror Americans’ variety
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An award-winning campaign: “Horticulture for Tomorrow” in Australia. 

Communicators pitched in vigorously to support a first set of national guidelines for environmental assurance in horticulture. A conference paper by Andrew Sedger and Liz Kellaway described this successful communications effort during 2004-2006. Planners in Horticulture Australia Limited wanted to:

  • Engage the 34 industry members in actively supporting the project
  • Raise awareness about the project and its role in addressing issues of environmental management in horticulture
  • Provide growers with information resources and technical tools
  • Generate editorial coverage in specific industry publications and rural media that serve growers

Elements of the communications strategy included branding and marketing; grower resources; a program for communicating with stakeholders; a media program; a national industry summit; and management of ongoing issues. This program met all four objectives and won the first-ever award given by the Public Relations Institute of Australia for an environmental communication campaign.

Title: Communicating environmental assurance in the Australian horticulture industry

Thanks and best wishes to Sara Thompson 

As she leaves her ACDC graduate assistantship this month. Sara will begin the second year of her graduate studies in library and information science with a special kind of international opportunity. She will be an assistant in the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs here at the University of Illinois. Mortenson Center provides professional development opportunities to library and information specialists around the world.

We are most grateful for the skill and dedication Sara contributed to the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center during the past year. Beyond her day-to-day services, she provided special leadership in:

  • systematizing and improving the database
  • standardizing citations
  • inventorying materials in our growing collection
  • managing and redesigning the web site
  • improving our system for identifying documents and
  • preparing a staff orientation handbook.

Communicator activities approaching

September 5-9, 2007
17th Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists at Stanford University, Stanford, California USA.

September 8-9, 2007
“Food and morality.” Theme of the 2007 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, England.

September 17-23, 2007
51st World Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Tokyo and elsewhere, Japan.

September 27-28, 2007
13th Annual Newspapers and Community-building Symposium co-sponsored by the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media and the National Newspaper Association Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia USA.

September 27-30, 2007
“Taste the future.” Annual Conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation in Belleville, Ontario.

Casting a rural eye on prancing communicators. 

We close this issue of ACDC News with a bit of conversation between a rancher and his son as they returned home from church one Sunday. The exchange was reported in a 1964 book, Cow People.

Son: “Papa, what do you think of his preaching?”
Father: “Too much mane and tail.”

Do you have thoughts, examples or suggestions related to any topics featured in this issue? 

Please send them to us by return e-note.
Get in touch with us:

  • When you cannot locate information you need about communications, as related to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural affairs in any part of the world.
  • When you see in this collection interesting items you cannot find, locally or online. Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

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

Best regards and good searching.

August 2007

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