Structure and substance of new South Farms master plan lacks vision

As a farmer, and a member of the University of Illinois South Farms Advisory Committee, I have witnessed, over the last five years, the initial planning and implementation of the South Farms research facility’s relocation.

This is a $120 million project, with a completion date several years in the future. Food production, consumer economics, agroecology, sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and social responsibility are just a few of the challenges that face real farmers in the real world.

In its current Master Plan for the new South Farms, the University of Illinois should also address these issues.

It is my opinion that in the current Master Plan these social, economic and environmental responsibilities are not even being considered.

The University has a unique, golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the new South Farms a showplace to the world for the study, experimentation, utilization, and dissemination of knowledge concerning these important challenges. This is especially true with the advent of the Global Campus Partnership.

A thesis detailing a vision of this opportunity may be found at http://www.nres.uiuc.edu/Dynamic.aspx?PageId=91. While these are not my words, they reflect accurately, eloquently and thoughtfully my vision of the possibilities that exist.

I am asking the students, staff and administrators, from ALL departments, to view and study this Web site and to become familiar with this project of your University.

If you then believe, as I do, that the University is “missing the boat” on this opportunity, I challenge you to help make this dream, this vision, become a reality.

Kevin Green

Fithian, Illinois