It will come no surprise to you when you read this statement: I know farmers.
Farmers are not just someone I visit at a farmers’ market.
Farmers are in my blood. They are my family.
They have been farming the land my family settled 126 years ago after coming to the North Dakota prairie from their homeland of Norway.
I know about farming practices. I understand how farmers care for their land, conserve water, rotate crops and use biotechnology to increase production to meet the increasing world food demand.
I know and see first hand how farmers care for their animals to raise the safest milk and meat.
Through social media, I have gotten to know farmers across North America. Some I have met in person and others I “visit” via their blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Whether it be the Zweber’s organic dairy farm in southern Minnesota, to a Kentucky farm girl/ ag journalism student Celeste Laurent to connecting with a Kansas rancher mother of five, Debbie, I love reading and knowing the stories of farmers outside my own rural community.
Professionally, I work in agriculture communications and have been a part of a farmer-led initiative to tell the stories of California farmers. My company’s role was to create the tool for the farmer’s voice to be heard. All content has been farmer generated and driven. Through social media, I already knew four California farmers, Jeff Fowle, Ray Prock, Barbara Martin aka Dairy Goddess and Nancy aka Wife of Dairyman. But this project has exposed me to hundreds of California family farmers with stories to tell you about how your food, fiber and flowers are grown.
I have never been so emotional vested in my work as I have on this project. It is run on a shoe string budget and I have volunteered many, many hours (ask my husband) to make sure these farmers’ voices could and would be heard.
It is a passion for me to help to connect farmers to consumers. I have learned so much from farmers telling their stories and know that for the next five, ten, fifteen and twenty years, I want to help more farmers tell their stories. Today, you can “Know A California Farmer” by visiting this site. Watch the videos, read the blogs, comment, create a conversation, see the pictures, share with your friends and family and please, my friends, tell me what you think.