By Michele Payn
The wonder of a story. The power of words. Do you ever scratch
your head about how to connect with the public in a time when
people are obsessed by bathrooms, gorillas and election antics?
As a farm woman, do you feel like you speak a different language
than other women? You're often in boots, sweaty or wearing "odor of
manure" perfume. You live and work in man's world. How can you
connect with people who live in the city, call a cul-de-sac home,
or have no idea how itchy chaff in the bra is? It's simpler
than you might think - connect on commonalities. Rather than
focusing on where you live, what you do and why it makes you
different - consider what you have in common with others.
I learned this firsthand while writing my second book, Food
Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Surprising Ways to Shop & Eat
Without Guilt.Trust me, after trying to relate 80,000 words
around food myths and farming - I understand your angst.
However, after talking with several moms and grocery shoppers in
informal settings, I discovered that connecting farm and food is
simpler than we like to think. "I just want to feel good about what
I'm doing for my family" was what I heard over and over. They want
to see, feel and know the human connections behind their food.
When I was speaking for a group of dietitians a few years ago, I
heard over and over that people are confused about their food - and
a big part of that is not knowing how it is produced. "Where does
our food come from? How can we trust it if we don't know who is
producing it and what they are doing?" asked a registered dietitian
in the first year of her career.
I thought, "isn't it common sense that ranchers and farm
families are growing the plants and animals to feed you?"
I have come to understand that the people - and stories - of
agriculture are common sense to me because I grew up in
agriculture. My roots are firmly planted in the world where food is
grown. Since you're reading this at Pink Tractor, I'm
guessing yours are, too.
Our common sense isn't same as the rest of the world. It's time
to go beyond "advocacy" - we have to learn to translate farm to
food. It's about finding your everyday stories as a mom, wife,
baker, pet owner, scientist, grandma, or business owner - and
sharing them. In short, it's about connecting with through finding
examples in your life that relate to others.
Explaining milking and mastitis by way of breast pumps and
breastfeeding is really funny to a lot of people.
Bug and weeds in the garden makes crop farming relatable to
gardeners when the dots are connected.
My two 125-pound Great Pyrenees provide fodder for animal
care relatable to most pet owners.
How can we translate farming and ranching to answer questions
about food? Join me here over the next several months, where I'll
be sharing examples and experiences from the intersection of farm
and food. In the meantime, what happened to you today that is a
story waiting to be shared?
Michele Payn lives on a small farm in west central Indiana,
where she and her daughter enjoy all things pink while working with
their Holsteins. Michele speaks from the intersection of farm and
food, helping thousands of people around the world through her
keynotes and training programs. Visit www.causematters.com or
connect with @mpaynspeaker on social media channels. Her second
book Food Truths from
Farm to Table is expected late 2016.
Copyright 206 Cause Matters Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction granted for PinkTractor.com.