|Just an excuse to show off Sparty. 🙂|
My brother is in one of the agriculture majors at Michigan State (Go Green!). In one of his classes, the topic of discussion was whether producers or consumer have more power when it comes to food. I’ve spend a bit of time thinking about this and wanted to share my thoughts.
My answer: Neither.
Remember the 50 Most Powerful Food People?
Take a good look at that list. Farmers are listed as number 50. We’re right at the bottom of the totem poll when it comes to determining what people are eating. Not very impressive.
Granted, consumers are not anywhere on that list, but I still don’t think producers power is so much greater.
The people that are toward the top of the list are government officials, interest group leaders, store owners, and celebrities. Unfortunately, these folks are the ones influencing the choices that consumers make, and, in turn, what food farmers produce. None of those people are necessarily experts, or even smart, and yet that’s who we go to for food information. I’m willing to bet some of the people on that list have never set foot on a farm, or at least spent any good deal of time there.
I mean, really, Pinterest?!
Is it any wonder that consumers are so confused about where food comes from?
People aren’t sure whether they should be afraid of GMOs. (They shouldn’t be.) Is organic worth the extra money? (No.) Maybe HSUS is right about farm animals? (They aren’t.)
Producers might actually produce the food, but we obviously aren’t controlling the message. And consumers can talk with their money, but they’re generally too confused or mislead to do so.
I’d like to see farmers moving up on that list. We shouldn’t be number 50, we should be in the top 5, at least. Then we can actually start having a meaningful conversation with consumers, who can be more educated with better information. No need to be confused at the grocery store!
We need a power shift.