“Agvocacy” is the heart and soul of National Agriculture Week. A farmer in Ohio, Mike Haley, coined the “agvocate” term on Twitter a few months ago. It brings together ‘agriculture’ and ‘advocate’ into a singular term that’s representative of the action needed. Agvocates from across the country shared their stores at the Cause Matters Corp. National Ag Week party – you’ll see they’re people just like you.
- My personal favorite agvocacy example is about being an example. Ray Bowman served at the soup kitchen in Kentucky. He said “Didn’t hear much discussion about food ethics. Guess they were just happy and grateful to have something to eat. Thank a farmer.”
- A farmer in Nebraska, Ryan Weeks, spent a morning on a food panel for the local MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers). “We had a great conversation about where their food comes from. The feed back afterwards was great, and many myths were dispelled.”
- I’ll also tip my hat to Zweber Family Farm in Minnesota for knowing that connecting people to agriculture is so important. “Agvocacy is included in our budget and in our daily schedules. Check our blog to see how we agvocate four to six days a week.”
- Michigan farmers rallied to defend Ag Day after Gov. Granholm declared Saturday Meatout Day in Michigan. On top of numerous ag week activities many farmers hosted “meaty” cookouts in response to the Governor’s decision to turn her back on one of Michigan’s only economic bright spots.
- Andy Kleinschmidt, an agronomist in Ohio, spent time with 3rd graders with an Ag in the Classroom program, toured with Ohio Governor Strickland to Cooper Farms in Van Wert and had a meeting with the top supplier of honey to Wal-Mart.
- Florida Extension was encouraging teachers to teach their students about agriculture this week through reading, experiments, field trips, anything to get them to bridge the knowledge gap of farm to fork according to mom and artist, Katherine Swift, also a DVM.
- What better way to learn than through appreciation? Teacher Robin McLean said her seventh & eight graders in Introduction to Agriscience class are working on “Thank a Farmer” cards. They have picked a state and or commodity they want, found an address to send to and are designing their cards to send, she reports.
- It’s heartwarming to see young people get in on the action, too. Miranda Bye reports she was part of a young group of college people representing 4-H, FFA, and AFA by doing Capitol Hill visits spreading the great story of agriculture in Washington DC.
- Dairy farmer Chris Sukalski said “We host a neighborhood picnic each summer on our dairy farm inviting not just neighbors but also people from the community. We introduce and recognize our employees & family members, serve a meal with malts and the finale’ is a farm tour. The best part is when someone brings along their visiting relatives from out-of-state – we’ve had guests from Florida to California at our “neighborhood” picnic.”
- LuAnn Troxel in Indiana said “Our county farm bureau is making plans to host 200 Michigan City children. Most have never been near a farm. We will teach them how their food is produced, we will feed them and then we will let them see live animals. This is always a wonderful hands-on learning experience for the students, the teachers and even the parents who come along!”
- Another farmer, Bill Rowekamp, in Wisconsin, reports opening his doors to an elected official. “We had our State Senator, Sharon Ropes, out to the farm two weeks ago. She is on the Ag committee. Next time she comes out I hope she brings one of her urban legislative friends with her.
- Shawn Turner, a florist in Kansas, said “Franklin County Farm Bureau Association hosted a coffee with the Ottawa Kansas Area Chamber of Commerce this morning to celebrate Ag Week! Great attendance, crowd surprised at what it takes to bring food to the plate, soft gasps as we discussed problems with HSUS.” Sometimes just the conversation is education enough.
- Wisconite Barb Durtche reports, Roundy’s supports agriculture. “I referred our local grocery chain to the yellowfail site. They’re great – they actually took the time to review it. AND… below is the email I received from them, ‘Barb,We contact the vendor and they will make sure the promotional material is changed out. ‘”
- Kansan Sarah Goss found a national conservative women’s blog site, American Maggie, willing to take a chance on a piece from a rural, agricultural perspective. Goss said she was “Pleased and humbled to have made a small contribution to the ag advocacy movement.”
- A college student and farm girl, Kelly Rivard, discusses several farms/people who agvocate for ag on her Midwestern Gold blog (including yours truly).
Some of these take hours to plan, while others can be done in smaller amounts of time. Agvocacy is about action, regardless of how big or small. If you’ve been inspired by these stories, shouldn’t you be a part of it – and inspire others to agvocate?