Friday, August 24, 2012

Who/what is a farmer?

It was a simple question, "Can you describe for me, not necessarily in formal definition terms, who this "farmer" is that each of you has refered to in your presentation?" The answer was very revealing.
A farmer and his wife?

I had just listened to a panel of three food consumers talk about food and their thoughts and feelings related to food for the better part of an hour.

 I had heard the nutritionist talk about her frustrations in not being able to get unbiased research since research is only funded by people that care about the result.

 I had listened to the food blogger talk about how she only trusted her peers and a farmer she knew, for information. Apparently, making no demands on them for academic or practical expertise.

 I had listened to the chef speak passionately about her love of all things food and how she trusted the food she could source herself even helping in the fields. That food that was touched, as it grew, was more comfortable to her.

And from each one I understood a similar sentiment expressed, there is healthy food and there is unhealthy food. Healthy food seemed to come from this "farmer" that they loved to relate to and therefore trust.

The panelist had looked to this "farmer" as an expert on human nutrition, food preservatives, GMOs, crop protection, land resource management, genetics, and on and on. To some degree, it seemed like any question related to food that caused the panel discomfort was refered back to the "farmer" for an expert solution. The farmer would be trusted as long as the panelist knew him personally.

It seemed like an awful lot of weight of responsibility to be placing on the shoulders of one person.
It only seemed natural to ask who this person was and what he looked like. What a wonderful fellow.

The answer was striking. A farmer was described by the panelist, as best I could understand,  as the person that put a seed into the ground and worked really really hard. And an added bonus was if the farmer had a "story" to tell.

These two actions made a person a farmer and therefore a trusted expert on all questions about food.
(no offense to the panelist, who spoke honestly and sincerely as far as I could tell)

I was uncertain that I would be seen as a "farmer" since I hire employees and machines to put seeds in the ground and have a degree in Ag Economics. Further, I employ an army of contract speciallist, that the consumer will never know personally, to answer the myriad of questions that need expert answers in growing a crop.

What are your thoughts? How much responsibility do you place on the "farmer"?

No comments:

Post a Comment