U of I announces new global food, ag communications center

A new center aimed at bridging the gap between urban and rural areas is coming to the University of Illinois.

Owen Roberts, director of the U of I ag communications program, tells Brownfield…

“We’re hoping by being a center that can do some research; that can do some professional training; development with students, with industry groups, with consumer groups, and we can help bridge that gap,” he says.

The James F. Evans Global Center for Food and Agricultural Communications will start this year in the College of ACES Library, and Roberts says it’s named for ag comm pioneer, Jim Evans…

“Often called the grandfather of ag communications, not just in the US but globally.”  He says, “Jim traveled to several countries to help universities there set up their own agricultural communications curricula.”

A sizeable, anonymous donation has kickstarted the 5-million-dollar fundraising campaign needed to establish the center.  He says…

To be called a center at the University of Illinois, $5,000,000 is required so that it has a good foundation and has some longevity.”  He says, “It won’t be a short-term venture. We’re in this for the long run, so the campaign is off and running.”

Roberts says the center’s program priorities will include certificate programs in critical thinking and leadership training, as well as other resources for ag professionals. 

He says their primary goal is to be a resource of balanced information on agriculture and food production.

AUDIO: Owen Roberts, director of U of I ag communications program

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