Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Have a question about your food? Tweet your local farmer!


I had the unique opportunity this past week to come and answer questions for a room full of farmers and ranchers.  You may wonder why said folks would have any questions for lil ole me?  I want to share with you an awesome website: AgChat.org.  Their mission is to "Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms."  My friend Rachel BrownLindsey Ferrier, and myself were invited to be panelists for a question and answer session based on our status of "mommy bloggers". 
 The conference was set in Nashville, Tennessee, but the attendees were from all over the United States and Canada.  These farmers and ranchers are finding their "voice" in a technology driven world, and have a desire to be heard.  Farmers and Ranchers make up 1.5% of the population.  They want to hear from the rest of us, from me; where we get our information, what we know about farming, and how they can reach the blogging and online community to share their stories.  Here I was, in a room with about 150 of them, and to be honest, I felt like I pretty much represented the ignorant citizen.  I don't say that in a bad way, because I also represented the person eager to learn, and one that wants to connect with them and pass on what I learn to others like myself.

So many of them had questions about what they could do to be heard, how they could get their voice out there.  I think a few felt defensive, because for years media has had its say in "what goes on" and they feel like there is a lot of catching up to do.  I hated to say "be patient, it's working", but it's so true! Just the fact that this organization exists is huge.  I did a quick google search of "tweet your local farmer", and numerous news articles came up.  Your words are getting out there, you are being heard.  It was all so exciting to me to know that technology is reaching as far as it is.

If I could say one thing to those I met this week, it's to know you are heading in the right direction.  The speed of social media and word-of-mouth, is exponential.  You will "catch up" quicker than you ever imagined.  Keep learning, keep sharing, keep posting, keep tweeting.  We are out here wanting to learn and the number of "us" is growing.  We are realizing that it is our responsibility to know what we are putting into our bodies, and why.  We aren't just taking "yes" or "no" for an answer anymore, and we are looking for truth.  Thank you for caring enough to speak.  Thank you for doing the dirty work for the 98.5% of us.  Thank you for sticking with it for generations and generations.  What a pleasure it was to spend this short time with you, and feel free to keep in touch!  I want to pass on your websites, facebook pages, blogs, tweets, and stories to others that I know.  I also hope to run into some of you again and get a chance to see your farms, and learn about what you do. It was really humbling for me to be in there with you all, and though I didn't have much time then, we can always connect right here.  Ag is Life!


shanna.brawner@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/shanna.brawner 
twitter: sbrawner7

15 comments:

ARranchhand said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us this week! It was great insight to hear a candid conversation from a mom blogger who is concerned about food information. On Facebook, I have a group that is frequently updated with blog posts from farmers and ranchers across the country. You may find it a good resource. http://www.facebook.com/BloggingforAgriculture

Michele Payn-Knoper said...

Shanna, THANK YOU for joining us. You provided great perspective on food - definitely not the ignorant citizen. You're right about some being defensive and having conversations with moms like you really help bring down those red flags. One of the questions you had was about a list of farm blogs, so just wanted to invite you and your readers over to the list of farm, ag and nutrition blogs at http://www.causematters.com/ag-resources/. We really appreciated connecting with you in Nashville - love your blog!

Jan said...

Communication is a two way street and sometimes it seems to be littered with potholes. Thank you so much for filling some of those in with your perceptions and views! Thank you for taking the time not only to do it but to follow up with sharing it.

Katie @Pinke Post said...

Great insight and perspective! Look forward to staying connected.

Beth Oliver said...

Shanna, thank you for speaking at the conference, and for sharing that experience with others through your blog. It's great to know that the challenges faced by Aggies and Mommys aren't so different after all!

Mike Haley said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to connect and share your thoughts with all of us at the conference. I to feel very ignorant most times as I have very little knowledge outside of life in rural America. It's great to have mediums like this that we all can connect and learn more about each other.

jplovescotton.com said...

It was great meeting you! And hearing how you are seeing things is a great moment of perspective for us.

I hope you and a lot of your friends "like" the AgChat Foundation enough to stop by the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AgChatFoundation where you can connect to all of the farmers and ranchers who have taken those first steps in getting heard.

If you are ever in St. Louis, I hope you'll get in touch. I'd love to show you my part of agriculture.

Drew Bender said...

Shanna, thank you very much for coming and speaking at our conference. The perspectives you ladies shared with us are what need to hear so that we can better our communication.

Jennifer Keller said...

Thank you for being eager to learn, thank you for your time and thank you for the encouragement! I was honored to be a part of the conference, and I appreciated the conversation from your panel!

Jodi said...

Thank you so much for joining us at the conference! I got goosebumps reading your post and hope you know how much we enjoyed you and the rest of the panel.

I work for about 300 pork farmers in the state of Kansas and love every minute I get to spend on dirt roads with farmers and ranchers. If I can ever answer any questions that you have about food, just let me know!

Also, you can find me (@jtgirl) at Facebook.com/KansasPork or @KansasPork!

Brandi Buzzard said...

Thanks so much for striving to build a communications bridge - it's very exciting for both producers and consumers! I am an animal science graduate student at Kansas State University and my family has also been involved in agriculture for many years. My in-laws are beef producers in Ohio and someday, my husband will move back to Ohio to continue the family farm. Please feel free to check out my blog http://buzzardsbeat.blogspot.com and/or follow me on Twitter @brandibuzzard. I sincerely look forward to connecting and learning! Thanks again!

Rancher Debbie said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to blogging aggies! I wasn't able to attend--too busy on the ranch, but I do write a blog and communicate with moms on twitter and facebook. I love hearing their stories and sharing with them how I raise healthy, safe beef. I'm going to follow you now...my twitter is: @DebbieLB, my blog: http://kansascattleranch.blogspot.com, and my facebook ranch page: http://facebook.com/KsCattleRanch

Thanks again for your openness and willingness to participate!

aliveandwellinkansas said...

Shanna, Super fun blog! Thank you so much for spending some time with us and sharing your thoughts!

Please feel free to check out my blog about life on (and off) our central Kansas farm at http://aliveandwellinkansas.wordpress.com/

I'm also on Twitter @kimray02. I look forward to connecting and learning!

Thanks again for spending some of your time with us :)

Robin R. Rastani said...

I enjoyed hearing your perspective, and thought it was a highlight of the conference. Thank you for participating & sharing.

MamaT said...

what an awesome opportunity!