Digging into Agricultural Journalism


Earth Journalism Network, Bangkok, Thailand

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network has published and distributed a toolkit in four languages for journalists working on stories about food security and agro-ecology, the application of ecological science to the study, and design and management of sustainable agricultural ecosystems. The toolkit includes a wealth of useful statistics, information sources, links to further readings, journalism tips, and definitions of terminology.

Jeff Rutherford, the toolkit's author, sees this moment as a crucial one for the global agricultural system. “Right now, agriculture and food systems are at a crossroads. If the world is to feed itself sustainably, it needs to be better informed about the possibilities that are available,"  

The toolkit, which was written in conjunction with a Fellowship program to the IUCN Conservation Congress last year with support from the Christensen Fund, has been translated and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese. Among the topics covered are genetically modified foods, industrial agriculture, agro-ecological farming practices, food sovereignty, the relationship between agriculture and climate change, and the economics of sustainable food systems.ble options,” writes Jeff Rutherford, the author of the toolkit, a journalist, and a farmer based in Thailand. “Journalists and local media can play a critical role in spreading these lessons, and helping societies find a path toward food sovereignty, but they first need a better grounding and understanding of the various approaches that are being adopted, and the issues surrounding them.”

By focusing on agro-ecology, this toolkit will help journalists incorporate new angles into their stories focused on food and farming. “Food is one area where everyday people can make a difference,” says Rutherford. “The job for journalists is to help people understand the challenges, the alternatives, and ways they themselves can make a difference.”

Download a PDF of the toolkit in EnglishSpanishPortuguese, or Chinese