New docuseries shines light on urban and rural farmers


A new docuseries takes viewers on visits with rural and urban farmers where they live and work and reveals stories of their challenges and opportunities, not often told.

The three-part series, produced by Illinois Farm Bureau, highlights what rural and urban farmers have in common as well as showcasing diversity across the state, with the help of university staff and other experts.

The new series, “Fields Apart: Rooted Together,” features a group of farmers telling their stories from their fields, farms and greenhouses. It focuses on topics including farming in urban areas such as Chicago, agritourism opportunities, how farmers can provide for their communities and fight food insecurity and how Illinois universities are providing diverse agriculture education. It also provides insight into how family farmers tackle the many challenges of crop and livestock production despite weather and uncertain prices.

“Illinois agriculture goes far beyond what consumers may picture when they think of a conventional farm,” said IFB President Brian Duncan. “This docuseries showcases rural and urban farmers’ similarities while celebrating our industry’s diversity, which includes conventional row-crop operations, urban farming, horticulture, livestock, food processing and so much more.”

In the first of the series, viewers meet Sadie Asher, a young Christmas tree grower in Henry County, who never imagined she would be farming considering the costs and challenges of getting into conventional row-crop agriculture. Viewers also see the grit and time it takes to start an urban farm through the eyes of Natasha Nicholes, the founder of We Sow We Grow urban farm in Chicago.

Other farmers featured in the series are Alicia Nesbary-Moore, owner of Herban Produce, a specialty farm in Chicago; Amelia and Michael Howard, owners of Eden Place Farm in Chicago; Mathew Heberling, a row crop and livestock producer in Christian County and Mark Tuttle, a grain farmer in DeKalb County and IFB District 1 director.

“The series looks at stereotypes even farmers may have about their counterparts in the city or county. We forget there may be a place for everyone,” Raghela Scavuzzo, IFB’s associate director of food systems development, said in the first segment. The series explores some of those places and the people in them.

Fields Apart: Rooted Together, which highlights similarities between rural and urban farmers and brings awareness to the similarities all farmers have, no matter their location, is now available to watch for free on IFB’s YouTube channel: @ILFarmBureau.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

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