First, I want to give a big virtual hug to all of my friends who checked on me while heading home from Washington D.C. right before epic winter storm Jonas hit. Secondly, I’m kind of excited that many of you have asked why I was there!
It has everything to do with your food and my farm.
I remember being a new mom and investigating food labels in search of the very best nutrition for my baby. It’s a daunting task. As I learned, not all labels are an indicator of nutrition.
Four kids later, I still check labels for nutritional information. We have a few food allergies – which is nothing new given our family history. I’m apt to compare the amounts of sugar and fat between products. However, there’s also packaging information that disappoints me from time to time, because the difference between what’s meaningful and what’s marketing can be a little blurry for many of us. Not everyone has the time to investigate this or a background in agriculture.
Do most consumers know that a “hormone-free chicken” label doesn’t really mean much? Hormones are never used in poultry or pork production – it’s the law. How is a consumer to know that top scientists have demonstrated that the human body doesn’t distinguish between different sugars – whether it’s cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or beet sugar? Where can we go for factual information from people who truly understand farming and food production?
Enter CommonGround. This organization is comprised of farm women who are happy to answer questions about how food is grown and what happens on farms.
I think we can all agree on wanting nutritious foods that are raised with respect for the land, water, and animals. Our challenge is being able to connect the consumers with the questions to the farmers with the answers in a world where farmers are outnumbered ninety-nine to one.
As a mom and farm woman volunteering with CommonGround, I'm one of many who are glad to explain how we care for the environment and our livestock in producing good harvests. The result is food of the highest quality for all of us. We share this information because we love what we do, and think you deserve to see the wonderful story behind all the food choices available.
I’m grateful I could attend a conference in Washington D.C. to meet up with other volunteers. We had the chance to learn a little more about what’s on people’s minds when it comes to food. (Personally, I always have chocolate on my mind when I’m not prepping our next home cooked dinner!) We’re reminded that sometimes farmers tend to speak in a specialized jargon that non-farmers can’t translate – and we need to talk about our farms in a universal language. We had the opportunity to brainstorm about blog topics that might surprise you. I met a Michigan blogger who had me hungry for ice cream in the cold of winter, and really impressed with the amount of specialized care she gives her dairy cows.
What I love about CommonGround is that these women are diverse, positive, and inspiring. We have talented women who are speakers and writers. Some come from multi-generational farms, and some are transplants from the city. Some raise conventional foods while others use organic methods. Some are newbies and others are experienced leaders in talking about their farms. All of them care deeply about how they grow your food.
It’s amazing the friendships and understanding that can develop when we have the chance to get to know each other. That’s really what we’re looking to accomplish as CommonGround volunteers: developing friendship and understanding between farmers and consumers as we connect our farms to your table.