Female farmers who volunteer with the CommonGround program met at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for a conference last week with state and national staff of the program.
They gathered to share program experiences with urban and suburban moms and to participate in sessions on topics including modern farming, public speaking and media relations.
National Corn Growers Association Grower Services Action Team Chair Patty Mann and United Soybean Board Director and Chair of the United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Nancy Kavazanjian both lent their support to the grassroots program by leading presentations.
“I came away from the conference with an appreciation for the idea that we need to embrace skepticism in conversations about food and farming with those outside of agriculture,” Mann said. “Just listening to concerns and sharing values can assure others that we really do want the same things for our families. Many mistrust farming because they lack access to farmers and ranchers. They sense the food system has changed, but they do not understand why. The more we can find in common, the more likely consumers will be open to hearing our stories. We need to be open about what we do and own our story instead of letting someone else tell it for us.”
In addition to the general and breakout sessions, a video called “Not a Latte” was presented to address pesticides concerns.
CommonGround is a joint, grassroots program that focuses on farm ownership; GMOs; food safety; antibiotics and animal health; hormones in meat and milk; organic and local foods; food prices; and sustainability.