It’s taken me over three years to create a blog and start to agvocate through social media and the internet. I’ve always considered myself an agvocate and spoke positively about agriculture to whoever would listen to me in person. It’s in my blood. It’s all I know. However, I considered myself a bystander on social media platforms. I posted pictures of my farm life and occasionally shared a post about agriculture among my Facebook friends. I felt that those who were speaking up via Twitter and Facebook were doing a good job and didn’t need me. However, I was holding myself back for a few reasons. I lacked the confidence to speak up about the science behind many of the myths. Genetically engineering, mutagenesis, antimicrobials (you get my drift) were all foreign to me. I was afraid of putting myself, my family and my farm in the public’s eye for everyone to see (and read), not because we are hiding something but because we are fairly private, modest people. But my biggest fear, however, is being silenced through negative comments, threats, and personal attacks for sharing my passion.
That all changed when I saw Chipotle’s “Scarecrow,” A&W’s “Better Beef” and Only Organic’s “The New MacDonald” ads. These campaigns, which focus on fear marketing and misinformation about modern agriculture had such a profound effect on me that I cried. I cried for all the hard working and dedicated producers that are proud to produce safe, high quality food. I cried for the future of our industry of how far we’ve come to feeding a world that is growing to nine billion people while using less resources. And I cried for my kids and the future of my family farm because I felt it being ripped from my arms by corporations trying to make a buck while throwing us and other farm families under the bus.
I can’t sit back and watch activists destroy our credibility, trust and social license. Farmers are well respected but growing, raising and producing food doesn’t seem to be good enough anymore. I want to speak up for the 2% of North Americans that feed the 98%. I want to be a voice for all those who want to know more about agriculture. And thirdly, I want to be a resource for moms trying to make good decisions on what to feed their families.
Those ads fuelled a fire from within to research, ask questions, raise my hand, and learn not about what production practices my farm does and why, but all of our industry’s best practices. I don’t consider myself an expert but I am curious and what I’ve learned is that no matter what type of farm, whether organic, conventional and/or GMO, we all have the same passion and purpose in common: Love. Love for our land, food, animals, and families. We take great pride in producing safe, high quality and affordable food, being good stewards of our land, respecting and caring for our animals, and passing our values and legacy on to the next generation.
This is a blog about a mom doing her best for her family and trying and learning new things. This is a blog about a family farm. This is a blog about sharing my love of farming one sparkle and seed at a time. This is a blog about dispelling myths and telling the truth. And most of all, this is a story about the joys, the frustrations, the hope and despair, the challenges and opportunities that encompass what we do. Through photos and words, I am able to bring you my heart, passion and livelihood. I’m not afraid to stand in front of a room or raise my hand and tell you why we grow genetically engineered crops and spray glyphosate. I am proud to tell you how we farm and do the things we do. We grow safe food that my kids eat and we take care of the land my grandfather passed on to us and kids will (hope to) eventually farm. We grow crops that sustain our farm for the long run, both environmentally and economically.
As our cities grow, more people are becoming disconnected from agriculture, even by a few generations in some places. My hope is by sharing my farm story, I can help bridge the gap between those involved and not involved in agriculture as we both can learn from one another. I am pro-ag (or pro-choice), whether it raised or grown local, organic, conventional, antibiotic free, etc, I feel that farmers have a choice on how we farm, consumers in our country have a choice to what they buy and companies can choose how to market their product. There is room for all types of farming practices to feed the world. What I don’t condone are campaigns and misinformation, particularly about one type of production practice that fuel distrust within our industry and use fear to gain a competitive advantage. I also don’t condone activists pushing their agenda which forces children and families in other parts of the world to starve and go blind while food they deserve could be available to them. I know consumer choice isn’t a luxury in parts of the world so I hope that as an industry we keep standing up for each other, learn from one another, and keep producing safe, high quality food to feed other families and curb hunger.
I know in this journey there will be ups and downs. I haven’t done this for long and have already been accused of being a shill, a liar…..even a douche bag (via Food Babe’s army). Activists are loud, fearless and cruel and use scare tactics to discredit the industry and belittle science-based innovations, regardless if they help improve agriculture sustainability, if it’s in the consumer’s best interest and how much your food is going to cost. They tie into the legal system to inundate public scientists with paperwork that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars and end up silencing reputable scientists and their hard work. Plus, activists make their campaigns look grass root and innocent, but they are far from it. In fact, they are being backed by billion dollar companies who want to gain a competitive advantage. When I’ve stated a different perspective and shared my story, they attack me personally and are not open to hearing the thoughts from a producer. I will not stoop to their level nor be afraid.
Should we all agvocate? Yes, but in a respectful, positive manner that moves conversations forward and teaches those that want to learn more about agriculture. Activists usually steal the show but there are way more people watching quietly on the sidelines and wanting to hear from us. We all have a unique story to share. If you are thinking of agvocating, you might already be doing it in your own unique way. My best advice is to tell your truth, be positive and most importantly, be you. Whether it is sharing a meal among friends, having coffee with colleagues or chatting with someone on an elevator, it only takes one conversation, one tidbit of information, one story about what we do to help shape the future of our industry.
Thank you to my family, friends and mentors who have encouraged me to do this, provided great advice and perspective and have been my greatest cheerleaders. Love to you all. XOXO