Event: John Deere: A Discussion of the History and Future of Agriculture


John Deere: A Discussion of the History and Future of Agriculture

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Highland Park —- Highland Park Historical Society will host ‘John Deere: A Discussion of the History and Future of Agriculture,’ with Historian Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis in character as John Deere. at the Highland Park Library, 494 Laurel Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

You have been ‘invited to a private board meeting and celebration of John Deere & Co.’ The founder of the company is retiring and handing the plow to his son Charles. John Deere reflects on the history of his self-scouring plows, shares some of his personal struggles, and then turns to the future and the great changes in agriculture that he foresees in the vision of his son, who transforms the company and the future of farming.

As John Deere, historian and author Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis covers a hundred years of agricultural history and then leads a discussion on the future of farming. Raising issues like the pros and cons of agriculture versus agribusiness, the role of technology and mechanization, the small family farm, centennial farms, and community service agriculture, this program promises to engage the audience in a complex conversation on how we continue to help feed the world. Turning the old Question and Answer session on its head, a large portion of the program is John Deere asking the audience questions about their family roots in agriculture and where they think the future will lead us.

Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis is an internationally acclaimed author, storyteller, historian and naturalist. He has worked with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Field Museum and dozens of other museums across the country.  Fox is also the Artistic Director for Prairie Folklore Theatre, a unique theatre company that celebrates ecology and history through original musical theatre productions. He and his wife, Kimberly Thrush, run a bed and breakfast, the Twinflower Inn, in Bishop Hill, Illinois.

Admission is free.  For further information, please contact the Highland Park Historical Society: 847.432.7090 or

About the Highland Park Historical Society: The mission of the Highland Park Historical Society is to preserve our community’s past, to inspire an appreciation of our history and culture, and to share with the community and scholars the rich history of Highland Park, Illinois. The Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Archives and Research Collections are housed in the Highland Park Public Library. For more information about Highland Park Historical Society, visit

About Illinois Humanities: Illinois Humanities strengthens the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive conversation and community engagement.  Founded in 1974 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Humanities is the only statewide proponent of the public humanities in Illinois.  Through public programs, education and training, and grant making, Illinois Humanities connects Illinoisans who might not otherwise encounter one another.