Are you familiar with the FarmOn Foundation? The organization was founded in Alberta, Canada in 2008 by a group of young farmers. They were concerned that there are so few farmers under the age of 35 and wanted to do something to make the industry accessible for young people. The organization’s website contains practical and real world advice and help for young farmers, as well as helping them connect with the public and consumers.
#FarmVoices is one of the organization’s biggest events and they want you to get involved this year as well!
From their website:
The #FarmVoices Movement was initiated by FarmOn in 2013 as a way to prompt meaningful conversations and relationship building necessary for young farmers to form a strong rapport with each other and their customers. Young farmers were called on to engage directly with consumers, relaying their own farming stories and reality by posting a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience as a farmer, attaching the hashtag #FARMVOICES. On April 22, 2013, Earth Day, young farmers from across the world did just that, utilizing the power of social media to connect with consumers, creating a media buzz that saw headlines like “Farmers take back Earth Day”. With posts streaming live on the FarmOn website, over 2,000 stories were shared that day, creating a bigger picture of the industry. #FarmVoices proved to be a game changer. It was the first time young farmers came together in mass numbers to unite under one common goal: telling the real story of farming, without a filter.
FarmOn is continuing the tradition this year on Earth Day and asked me to help spread the message. I have tried to share my story through my blog, in addition to so many of my information posts, and encourage farmers to get that message out whenever they can.
So, how can you get involved?
Becoming involved in the Movement is as simple as being willing to share your story! On April 22, Earth Day, take a photo or video that shows a glimpse of your farming reality, write your thoughts, tag it with the hashtag #FARMVOICES and post it to Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. It’s that just that easy!
Personally, I love the idea of farmers united on Earth Day to promote agriculture and tell our story. Farmers are in the best position to become the best stewards of our planet and it just makes sense that Earth Day belongs to us! I will definitely be participating this year and I hope you’ll consider joining as well!
In closing, I want to share the FarmOn #FarmVoices message in its entirety:
One of the most powerful ways you can inspire others is by using the one thing you have that no one else has – your life story. Hands down, your personal experience of the world is the most valuable asset you possess. Period. Because stories draw upon our universal need for connection, something that humans are hardwired to desire. Telling yours – complete with the pain, mistakes, failures and challenges as as well as the joys, successes and wins – says something about what it means to be human.
When we came up with the idea for the #FARMVOICES movement a few years ago, the intent was to have farmers connecting directly with consumers to tell the real story of farming. And while this has occurred, one of the largest unintended but beautiful outcomes was that through the power of their stories, farmers started to become amazing support systems for each other. Over the past two years, farmers all around the world have connected with each other, moved by universal commonalities and raw experiences that they could see themselves in.
One of the most amazing things that we get to experience at FarmOn, something that comes across our desks on a regular basis, is hearing how your stories have inspired other farmers to carry on, simply from being able to relate to you. To know that someone faces hurdles that you face, that they have similar fears, that they overcome seemingly impossible challenges – that’s the power that your story holds.
And it’s the power of #FARMVOICES.
We know that the challenges we face as farmers are large, that the controversies we face can often cause us to become hyper focused on these issues. And while we must be mindful and diligent in our agvocacy, we must also be aware of our victories, big and small. This is the essence of what you will see and experience this week with the launch of the new #FARMVOICES video. Stories of perseverance by farmers determined to carry on no matter the twists their story takes.
So as we gear up for Earth Day this year, we ask you to truly consider sharing your own story. Don’t worry about your audience. Don’t worry about sharing too much information. Don’t worry about upholding optics. Just tell your story. Tell it confidently. Tell it passionately. Tell it vulnerably. Tell it so bravely that it’s sure to find its way to those aching to hear it most. Because your story matters and can make a difference!
Keep farmin’ on…
The FarmOn Team