The California coastline is the epitome of a love scene out of a movie. Cool blue waves crashing over jagged rocks jutting out over the surface. Brightly colored flowers carpet the rest of the shore with white sand dotted in between. The sun is shining almost every day.
I would say it is one of the most picturesque places I have seen.
One thing is for sure, it is a far cry from the Midwest farm scene that I am now blessed to live amongst. Both lifestyles have their charm and beauty at equal levels.
But as I look at the challenges I face as a person trying to share the real story of agriculture it becomes so much clearer to me as to why there is a disconnect.
I had the pleasure of visiting California’s coast for the very first time at the end of April this year to speak to a great group of beef producers about sharing your farm story. As we drove along Pacific Coast Highway 1 winding down and around the scenery, I couldn’t help but feel honest sympathy for those who might be confused about modern day agriculture.
Farming is such a different world from anything else and there is no way to truly connect to what we do without a farm visit. For most, the closest they are able to come to a farm visit is a “Google” visit.
Coming from firsthand experience of the city and the farm myself, I can tell you that one kind of visit is entirely more accurate than the other. I don’t think you will be surprised when I say that Google doesn’t typically make the cut.
While we as farmers begin to seep out through the cracks and pulse more truthful information and real stories of the farm, I think it is extremely important that we keep these different perspectives in mind. I believe it is essential that if we are going to show people what we do every day, we also need to walk a mile in “city slicker” shoes. Agvocates absolutely need to visit a large city where grass is non-existent and owning a car is almost unheard of.
Trust me, even being born and raised in the middle of suburbia, it dawns on me more and more each time I visit just how easy it is to be out of touch with farming. It also is easy to understand the feeling of being wary of the food that you nourish your family with when you have no way of really knowing how it is produced. These are all things that I believe sometimes we as farmers take for granted. We know it’s safe. We are the first people to consume our own product, but there are so many that are not.
People are generally not ignorant of farming; they simply are waiting for a farmer to tell them what they’ve been waiting to hear. Food is our business, and we take it seriously.
Invite people to take a closer look – they will be amazed with who we are!