URBANA, Ill — For over 100 years, University of Illinois Extension has invested in local agriculture with a mission to support growers and industry leaders. At the heart of the agriculture industry are local growers and farmers who work to feed communities, support families, and bolster the state's economy. Helping this industry thrive in Northern Illinois is a new educator. Illinois Extension recently welcomed Renzo Ceme Vinces as the new Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator serving Grundy, Kankakee, and Will Counties.
“We are excited to welcome Renzo to our team as the local food systems and small farms educator in our community,” says Marilu Andon, county director, “His experience in empowering producers and supporting the capacity building for small farmers will be invaluable as we aim to support those in our community.”
Ceme Vinces will provide leadership and programming in the areas of local food systems and small farms in Grundy, Kankakee, and Will counties. With a focus on bringing individualized support to those Extension serves, he says he is excited to empower communities:
“My time serving and supporting farmers has shown me never to undervalue the importance of one-on-one mentorships,” says Ceme Vinces, “with so much of the focus being on large-scale commercial operations, new farmers, family farms, or specialized operations like beekeeping often fall through the cracks. I am excited to provide support and resources directly to producers, the cooperatives, and the associations that support them.”
Ceme Vinces holds a master’s degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech University and a Bachelor of Science in environment and development from Zamorano University.
Ceme Vinces brings marked experience in supporting producers and mentoring agricultural leaders. Prior to his role with Extension, he worked with the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International in Ecuador for the Farmer-to-Farmer program, where he worked to support the capacity building of small farmers through training topics.
In his role as field coordinator for this international voluntary assistance program, Ceme Vinces identified and recruited host organizations such as agricultural cooperatives, built innovative volunteer activities for the program’s volunteer U.S. citizen trainers, and assessed the impact of volunteer assignments.
Ceme Vinces is based in the Kankakee County Office and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-933-8337.
The local food systems and small farms team at Illinois Extension bring dedicated support to growers, producers, and consumers directly to the communities they serve. Based within the College Of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Illinois Extension stands ready to support both small-scale and commercial farmers in meeting the challenges that a changing agricultural landscape provides.
WRITER: Anthony Warmack, Communications and Marketing Program Coordinator
Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.