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Illinois Farm Bureau highlighting diversity of farming in the state

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(The Center Square) – A docuseries is showcasing the shared characteristics and challenges that rural and urban farmers face in Illinois.

Produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau, “Fields Apart: Rooted Together” highlights farmers not only in downstate communities, but also in Chicago.

“Illinois has a little bit of everything when it comes to agriculture,” said IFB President Brian Duncan. “It’s important for IFB to connect producers of all types so we may learn from one another and build common ground as we work through our shared challenges.”

The series covers a variety of topics such as farming in urban areas like Chicago, agritourism opportunities, how farmers can provide for their communities and fight food insecurity, how Illinois universities are providing diverse agriculture education and more.

“You realize how important it is to support hyper-local businesses,” said Alicia Nesbary-Moore, owner of the farm Herban Produce in Chicago. “To keep dollars within the community.”

Mathew Heberling, a farmer near Taylorville, is featured in one episode. He said it is important to shop local for food whenever possible.

“I really think the chains and everything is part of the reason we are seeing some of these rural communities struggle so much right now is because these chains got so big, they lost touch of their local consumer,” said Heberling. “You lose a grocery store and families start moving and ultimately just leads to the demise of our rural communities.”

Heberling said the docuseries shows farmers are strengthening their communities through agriculture regardless of geographic location.

“When we have these conversations, we build connections that not only help strengthen us personally, but also help lay the groundwork for the future success of Illinois farmers,” said Heberling. “Regardless of how diverse our backgrounds are, the similarities hold us together.”

“Fields Apart: Rooted Together” is available on the Illinois Farm Bureau website.