In the face of so many negative stories lately, including the Folta FOIA scandal, Neil Young, and Fran Drescher, I was recently asked by a supporter of modern family farms how like-minded individuals can practically support us. It’s all well and good to know the truth and be informed, but how can you translate that into action?
I’ve put together a list of fairly simple suggestions. There are certainly other things that can be done, but these are fairly basic and can have a big impact.
1. Be a Conscious Shopper
Let your wallet do the work for you! Of course, your purchase are already helping shape this discussion. Organic sales are growing, non-GMO labeled products are a hot commodity, and company after company is in the process of “reformulating” their products to fit in with these trends. Why? Because it’s trendy and these are the topics people are talking about and companies see it as a profit opportunity. So long as the market trends continue the way they are, we will continue to see companies following suit in hopes of cashing in.
You can easily make a difference by choosing not to buy these products, even if that means going without that particular item until your next grocery trip. Usually the sacrifice won’t even be that extreme, because most products have some alternative that does not embrace these labels and fear-based marketing gimmicks.
While it might not seem like a big deal, the more all of us consciously shop so as to not support these trends, the more impact we have over time!
2. Speak Up
Believe it or not, I try to avoid social media “fights” just as much as the next person, and I can be pretty shy in real life. It takes a bit of courage, but sometimes standing up and saying something can make all the difference.
A family friend recently ran into this situation in the produce aisle. She sampled a grape before deciding to buy the bag. Another shopper was horrified and asked whether she knew those grapes needed to be washed because they were “drenched” in dangerous pesticides. Our family friend simply told her that she grew up on a farm and wasn’t afraid of agricultural pesticides. In fact, she explained that most farmers pick produce and eat it right in the field!
While one conversation may not have changed the shopper’s mind, it hopefully planted a seed that will be nurtured over time. Politely correcting someone or even just letting them know you disagree with an anti-agriculture statement can be a catalyst for something bigger. You definitely don’t have to change someone’s entire perspective on food and farming in one conversation!
And don’t forget – if you want to say something, but don’t feel comfortable speaking about these topics, you can always refer people to your favorite farm bloggers, such as myself or Ask the Farmers! Just say, “I appreciate your position, but I think it may be beneficial for you to talk to some real farmers. Have you ever heard of The Farmer’s Daughter USA?”
3. Support and Share
The easiest way to support farmers is to like, share, retweet, and pin!
Of course, I’m talking about social media. One reason that myths and misinformation tends to spread is that it usually goes unchecked. Just seeing a negative headline or meme regarding modern agriculture can leave a sour impression in someone’s mind. To counter that, make it a habit to spread and share pro-agriculture stories, articles, and videos! Let’s have people see positive stories about modern agriculture once in a while! Even if you want to avoid some of the more controversial topics, there are plenty of farm blogs that just recount the day-to-day activities or interesting information about agriculture.
How about challenging yourself to share at least one thing on social media each week that is pro-agriculture? Or, even just interacting (ie. liking, clicking, or favorite-ing) with a social media post helps a blog’s reach. Heck, you could even click on that “donate” button on your favorite blog. 😉
In short, help us counter those negative messages by supporting our content!
4. Join Team Ag!
I can’t make a list like this without mentioning Team Ag.
Beyond supporting us and spending your money carefully, you can also be proactive. In the last few months since its creation, Team Ag members have sent supportive messages to companies being targeted by anti-agriculture organizations, contacted Congressman and urged support for pro-agriculture legislation, and even opposed March Against Monsanto in conjunction with March Against Myths about Modification. We try to give team members easy ways to take a stand with us and support our causes.
Sign up and make it a point to participate in our efforts.
Click here to learn more about Team Ag and sign up!
What are your practical suggestions for people to really get out and support modern family farms? Post them in the comments!