We were headed to the #140conf Small Town in Hutchinson, Kansas.
|Val of Wag Farms, my prairie mama soul sister who I met via Twitter.|
It was a long straight highway from the North Dakota prairie that my prairie mama girlfriend, Val and I were traveling together all the way to Kansas to both share our stories to a new audience.
Val was driving. Or was I driving? Either way, we were both checking our phones. Legally.
Our Twitter/Facebook/blogger/friend in real life, Emily, tweeted their farm was getting ready to slaughter or the politically correct term now used “harvest” hogs and if anyone was interested in purchasing a hog from them to let her know. For clarity, food animals are slaughtered for consumption. Grains, fruits, vegetables and more non-animal food are harvested for food…in my book of terminology.
|Emily and me|
Emily and her husband, three children and extended family farm 400 miles east of us. Zweber Farms is an organic dairy farm and also raise hogs, beef cattle and chickens south of Minneapolis, MN. They have millions of people as their target purchasing audience living less than an hour from their farm. But two remote moms who purchase their food at small town grocery stores in rural North Dakota where only 650,000 people live in the whole state? We are not Emily’s audience. But that’s a beautiful thing about social media, we became Zweber Farm’s audience.
I tweeted Emily back to tell her Val and I would take two hogs please. Emily was a bit surprised and pointed out we would become their farthest customers. What would reasons be to purchase a hog on Twitter that would be slaughtered and then someone get 400 miles from their local meat shop to our homes?
- We did not purchase from Zweber Farms for price. We didn’t even ask the price, knowing it would be fair and reasonable. Purchase because supporting family farmers is the right thing to do.
- We purchased pork from Zweber’s because we knew them. Both Val and I got to know Zweber’s through their farm blog, from being involved in organizations together and from interacting in social media together. If you don’t know a farmer, get to know farmers from social media.
- We didn’t purchase from Zweber’s because they are organic dairy farmers or raise natural pork. Organic. Natural. Grass-fed. Distilled Dried Grains. Flax. Cotton seed. Biotech corn. Almond hulls. Canola meal. Soybean meal. I’ll be honest. I eat meat that eats a wide range of grains and grass while it is alive. I’m not picky as long as the meat is quality and farmers and ranchers know what their animals should eat to raise the best meat.
- Ultimately it was knowing the Zweber’s were the connection for Val and me. Don’t point fingers at farmers saying their methods of farming and ranching is wrong and you aren’t going to support them. Purchase the food you want to feed your family at the price you afford, whether it’s a hog on Twitter or the beef roasts or whole chickens at your local grocery store
Now is it sustainable or even reasonable for me to rely on one family farm 400 miles east of me to be my sole supplier of pork for our family? No. There is no local pork supplier where I live. Local is relative. It takes farms in other states and even another country to supply us with pork. It takes pork from Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and bacon farmers in Ohio and more. Plus my Canadian neighbors to the north who thankfully raise a lot of livestock to supply us. Food travels miles and for that, I am grateful on the prairie.
I am grateful also social media gives a platform to tell our stories. It connects us from the road trip to the family farm to the city back to the farm. It gives us a beeline to our target audience. But it also expands our community. It grows our audiences. Social media allows us the opportunity to support one another and to extend a hand or pat another on the back for a job well done.
What else has social media given me?
A mighty fine ham that I put in the slow cooker early one morning for an evening family meal…
the best bacon for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches
and tasty brats that we grilled last night for supper. Thank you Zweber Farms for the fabulous pork and for being one of the many family farmers I know and trust because of social media. Thank you to Val for delivering my coolers of pork from Zweber’s farm to our home but also for being a friend I met on Twitter and being a prairie mama soul sister.
What have you gained from social media?