On any given day, Jacqueline Aenlle can be found learning about lab-made meat or blogging about honeybees. She interviews experts on swine production and discusses the ins and outs of the dairy industry, all while pursuing a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. A truly curious communicator, Aenlle is always on to the next project.
Aenlle does this as the founder of the podcast From Urban to Agriculture, where she reads, writes and researches about an agricultural topic – and then communicates all she possibly can about it. Episode themes come anywhere from listener-submitted questions to current, controversial topics, giving each session a unique perspective that can take audiences anywhere.
Since the airing of the first episode in 2019, From Urban to Agriculture has aimed to connect curious consumers with agricultural professionals to learn more about food, agriculture, environmental sciences and natural resources.
And in 2020, Aenlle received a TESI Lifelong Learner Education and Outreach grant for her podcast work. With these funds, she produced a series of episodes on the endangered Florida panther and red tide.
“The funding allowed me to experiment with new technology and software as a podcaster, podcast consultant and teacher,” Aenlle said. “It was a great first experience in working with grant money, and I’d encourage anyone to apply for the grant as well.”
Aenlle used the funds to produce her podcast with more professional equipment and better extend her reach to Florida audiences. Today, her podcast averages over 100 listeners per episode, with the TESI-funded episodes averaging 300 listeners.
Before COVID-19, Aenlle originally intended to use the grant funds to travel to her guests and create in-person photo and video content.
But plans changed. Aenlle used her funding primarily toward outreach, and now says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I was able to push my red tide episodes to people in coastal towns, while also targeting more urban Florida areas,” Aenlle said. “I created promotional products, presented at local schools and I’m just grateful my project was easily translatable to an online platform after the pandemic.”
Right now, the podcast also serves as a platform for Aenlle’s agricultural blog and other educational resources. In the future, she hopes to turn to consulting and teaching, where she can continue to guide people through agricultural topics through her communication skills.