Bustos Probes Food Security at Monmouth College

BustosMonmouth17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos stopped in Warren County on Thursday as part of her week long “Bustos Hits the Back Roads” tour.

Bustos reviewed Monmouth College’s recently completed Center for Science and Business, but also spent time learning of the school’s food security efforts.

Bustos tells WGIL the intersection of science and business has importance.

“There’s a new way of learning, of bringing together disciplines that in the past that were not brought together that will prepare these students when they go out into the world to do something big and grand and to see how what they learn right here can be applied to the whole world at large,” says Bustos.

Among the projects students are working on prior to the start of fall classes are potential solutions to stem the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Promoting local food cultivation and methods to increase sustainable agriculture was also covered.

Monmouth College developed a focus on food security with the creation of their new building, and due to the region’s prime farmland and transport infrastructure. The program is being led by three faculty members, but draws in disciplines outside of economics, biology, and anthropology.

Bustos says she was using the tour to better survey the needs of rural communities in the 17th Congressional district.

“The fact that this early into it, you have students that are able to make these coherent, interesting presentations to a group that’s here visiting, I’m fascinated by the whole concept,” says Bustos.

The school says they have a goal of publishing original research while encouraging students to cross their disciplinary boundaries. Many of the students invited to speak with the Congresswoman were working to achieve majors outside of biology and agriculture.

Monmouth College Dean of Faculty Dr. David Timmerman tells WGIL that bringing both faculty and students together can makes things happen.

“I got to experience a couple of things here that I wasn’t sure I would even necessarily see,” says Timmerman. “Where is it going? It’s going to go where the students and faculty take it.”

Prior to visiting Monmouth College, Bustos toured Consolidated Grain and Barge. She says learning how local farmers take their products to market can lead to a better understanding of how the region’s economy can be impacted.

Bustos will continue her tour through the remainder of the week.

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