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You’ll Take It And Like It!

February 24, 2015

800px-Roast-Duck-Crispy-Pork-Rice-2009Remember those battles with kids? Maybe you were the kid or the parent, and something wasn’t being received well. “I don’t LIKE that.” “But it’s good for you…here just try it…” “But I DON’T WANT THAT!” Tears followed. Maybe wailing. “You’ll eat it and like it!”

Do you still dislike it? Does it leave bad memories in your mind? Apples do that to me…I dislike them. (Fed it to the horse.)I don’t like apple flavored things either. We all have food memories, some good and some not so good. Sometimes even years later we know it’s “good for us” but aren’t willing to get past that negativity.

Does it change for other food topics? I think in many cases it doesn’t, it breeds resistance and it’s increasing.

Hundreds of millions of people rely on the food supply every day. We’re moms, working parents, community members, public service folks, farmers. We’re busy but not too busy to do the best we can for meals. Or at least most meals!

Engage your mind before putting money down on ad claims. I'm pretty sure this FISH was not 100% grass fed!

Engage your mind before putting money down on ad claims. I’m pretty sure this FISH was not 100% grass fed!

With the internet, it’s easier than ever for those consumers far from farms to connect with farmers trying to connect with them. It’s also easier than ever to find many food sites against something rather than promoting what they believe in. Sometimes even what appears to be, isn’t. Relationships are fragile on social media, and when a business, a relationship, an organization exists due to social media it’s sometimes easy to misunderstand. Food conversations are important. Accurate food conversations.

Be afraid. Get mad. Research, thoroughly, and talk to those in the food system. Some people, and forums, are more about convincing you to believe what they believe. Some are about convincing you to dislike something and spending time posting against something or someone, so much time that supporting what you really want is, it seems, lost. Don’t get stuck in that fear or anger – get answers. If we hear about a car accident do we park the car and start biking to work? Or does it make sense to find out how not to be in an accident and plan accordingly?

There are many outlets for organic, small farm and non-GMO food. There are many more outlets for larger volume produced food, from websites by Kraft or Pillsbury, for example, to sites specific to popcorn growing and eating! “Oh I can’t use THAT SITE!” So you want a recipe and there’s a good one using chicken leg quarters in chili on Kraft’s site – use it and improvise! If you just want the recipe surely you can substitute whole ingredients from scratch for the cans?

I know many farmers, large and small, who take part on both large farm topic sites and smaller forums. Oh yes, there are nasty names folks call me when challenged to think and they don’t want to. It upsets their little boat. Does it get to truth to sit in the little boat screaming then say “la-la-la-la” when someone engages your statement? I wonder sometimes if some want a platform to shout from rather than a means to engage people.

Heirloom tomatoes at SlowMoneyFarm

Heirloom tomatoes at SlowMoneyFarm

For example, one I have participated on for some time is the Eat Local Grown page – small, local farm support, small processors, leaning towards organic and nonGMO – perfect fit for me to share what I know about agriculture, both what we do and those things that aren’t exactly true that “everyone knows” (but is wrong). I was surprised, then, last week to go to the page and find I can share (broadcast) their posts but not ‘like’ or reply to anything. A mistake, right? Surely of all participants, a small nonGMO, organic practice  farm is the ideal participant to reach others? I tried to message them. No luck. It lists a phone number. I’ve called multiple times, left messages, sent a message on Twitter…no response. So, although it’s good enough to help with their crowdsourcing they are not interested in helping “their farmers” with their crowdsourcing attempts? Is that engagement or a platform to dictate from? I don’t know – I haven’t gotten an answer. Life happens. But for several days now, it’s clear that there won’t be an answer, unfortunately. What is the point in sharing things that aren’t entirely true? It gives that “You’ll take it and like it” message – only most adults don’t. We’ve learned that we can have a conversation not an ultimatum.

Social media is an awesome way to explore food. Growing it. Processing it. Cooking it. Eating it. Local is awesome, but may not be possible in some areas right now where not much produce has grown since last September! It will soon be spring, planting gardens, farmer’s markets and other options start up again. We can be thankful for other options that have held us over the winter, whether we prepared it or someone else did.

In your interactions online, I hope you will engage, not broadcast. There’s a big difference between a conversation and a lecture – and many have negative memories, or will have, from those nasty sessions being SCREAMED AT rather than talked to. Please don’t let the nasty attacks, or lack of responses, deter you from food choices, whatever they might be.

After all, food choices are for everyone.

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