Do you know a farmer? No? Well, you’re not alone. Research shows we’ve never been more disconnected from the people who grow our food. Less than 1.5% percent of the nation lives or works on a farm, the majority of us are several generations removed from first-hand farming experience. Farmer marketing pioneer and author Michele Payn-Knoper suggests it’s easier than ever to connect with a farmer.
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, “three in five Americans would like to know more about how food is grown and raised, but don’t feel they have the time or money to prioritize,” said Payn-Knoper, author of the recently released book No More Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation. “But in reality, technology can help fill the chasm between farmer and foodie.”
As the growing season begins, Payn-Knoper offers five ways to spend just 15 minutes a week on average engaging with farmers:
Find them on Facebook
“Farmers are just as prolific online as the population in general, and many are active on Facebook. Like their pages, ask them questions and share your thoughts. They want to hear from you,” Payn-Knoper said.
Read and comment on their blogs or websites
“Similarly, farmers have active websites or blogs they frequently update. Many offer opportunities for comments.”
“Farmers also are on Twitter and frequently engage in tweet-ups with each other or consumers.” Twitter groups like @foodchat and @agchat facilitate the conversation.
Plan a visit with three types of farms
“Farmers increasingly offer on-site tours. Check their websites and take every opportunity you can. But, mix it up. Visit a small farm, big farm, produce farm, dairy farm, or ranch.”
Visit a farmers’ market during off-peak hours
“The proliferation of farmers’ markets makes it easier than ever to literally reach across the table to shake the hand that feeds us. But, plan your visit for either the beginning or end of the market – when farmers have the most time to talk one-on-one.”
No More Food Fights! is the first-ever book to speak to all sides of the food movement. One of North America’s leading farm and food advocates, Payn-Knoper wrote the book after continuously witnessing the growing divide between farmers and eaters that she believes is causing confusion in the grocery aisles and placing the future of farming at risk.
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