After a week on the road, I got home on Saturday night. I had an incredible time with the family I was born into and extended family we’ve chosen. We had a big crowd with us and had a great time at the church camp I had grown up going to…. We rent it out and have regularly for Thanksgiving holidays. Between the late night campfires and the cabins less than posh cots, I was pretty wiped out when I got home. After I unloaded the car of all the stuff needed for camping, I sat down, turned on the TV and realized that farmer & rancher Jeff Fowle was IN MY LIVING ROOM! Yep. It was certainly the case! See for yourself:
That commercial just happened to be coming on when I turned on the TV. And since I’ve known Jeff a few years (time has sped past!) I recognized the voice far too easily! But I had to wonder how many other households in the US were catching this. The fact that farmers and ranchers sometimes live a long way from the people who sometimes buy the products raised on their farm makes always sitting down at the table together tough, but the reality that social media can put us into dialog often, that’s a game changer.
There are a lot of efforts that can help you get to know these incredible folks that I get to talk to daily. And I can give you personal recommendations if you want to tell me some of the things you are most interested in, but in general, I will recommend a few to get you started.
- America’s Farmers produces monthly webisodes about the farm families featured in the TV commercials you can catch at home regularly. The webisodes talk about the kinds of things that they face this year and the next. America’s Farmers is also active on social media with @AmericasFarmers on Twitter and the America’s Farmers page on Facebook.
- Real Farmwives of America is an effort undertaken by several farmwives sharing what they have going on at home (some yummy recipes) as well as what’s happening on their family farms. The group has an incredibly active Facebook page for the Real Farmwives and the Twitter feed for the Real Farmwives of America is fairly active too.
- FoodDialogues is what brought Jeff Fowle into my living room last night. They are advertising to draw attention to the conversations they are creating in person and presenting on the FoodDialogues website. They have a number of videos on the USFRA YouTube channel, including this one that features my friend dairy farmer Dino Giacomazzi. The USFRA Facebook page has drawn quite a few critics but there are a lot of farmers who want it to be more conversational.
And you can find Jeff telling his farm’s story on his CommonSense Agriculture blog through Twitter as @JeffFowle. And I have to ask…. Have you seen Jeff in your home? Maybe sometime he’ll come to visit and I can offer him a beer. In the meantime, do you think I should get a cardboard cutout version of Jeff? I mean they have cardboard Elvis’ so surely there’s a market for tall cowboys!
They do have a #foldablefowle version of Jeff. I know, I saw it with my own eyes in Nashville.
Great post Janice!
Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON says
LOL! You guys had him in that Mustang right?
Him and 5 others….
Seems to me the dialogues aren’t often much more of ‘talking to the choir’. Hopefully more folks can be reached through such mediums. Then minds on both sides of these issues can be opened and the conversations can and will produce a better outcome for all concerned.
Thanks Janice and Jeff [though never met] you have opened mine. We can have civil and honest conversations and sometimes agree to disagree. 🙂
Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON says
I agree Mona in part…. the choir is fairly engaged as are very outspoken critics. I personally think that’s why individual efforts like yours and mine make a difference. People can see us at opposite ends of the spectrum if they look at a few things, however, by being more involved and open about more of what we truly believe, we find we are not extremes but have quite a bit of common ground too. We just need it to go viral! 🙂
Mark Lathrop says
Thanks for telling the rest of the story Carrie! 🙂 Let’s just say @JeffFowle fits in the backseat of a Mustang with other farmers like @RayLinDairy. The epitome of a close-knit group!