Now, more than ever, we need to help others understand how food gets to their kitchen table and on the restaurant menu. The Agriculture Council of America reports the general population is now two to three generations removed from knowing someone involved in agriculture-related endeavors. As agriculture advocates, it’s our responsibility to help consumers understand the value this industry plays in their daily lives. By gaining knowledge of where food comes from, shoppers can not only make more informed decisions about diet and health but also gain a deeper appreciation for this important industry.
There are lots of simple, everyday ways to share ag stories. Here are a few ideas:
- Ensure your company’s communications plan includes local or regional outreach.
- Work with local food groups, 4-H clubs and FFA chapters to help increase awareness and knowledge.
- Make sure employees understand where the product comes from or goes after it leaves your facility. Provide general industry facts they can share with friends and family.
- Help someone at the meat case who looks bewildered.
- Donate to a local food pantry, shelter or church.
On a personal level, we’ve made sharing the ag story a family affair. Each summer our son, Cody, hosts an open house for the neighbors to come see his show pigs and learn about what he has done during the year to help them grow and stay healthy. We started this when he was eight years old and in his second year of 4-H; he’s now 16. We live in a rural subdivision and wanted to keep the neighbors informed and comfortable that his pigs wouldn’t decrease their property values. This pig “show and tell” has been a wonderful way for neighbors to visit and learn about raising pigs. It has also helped our son better explain his project and the animal welfare practices he has in place. He has become a great ambassador for the industry.
This is a simple event, but sometimes those are the most effective. If you are honest and transparent, the message resonates better all the way around.
People want to know more about where their food comes from, so let’s celebrate National Ag Day by sharing our stories. We’ve got amazing ones to tell.