RTF: Farmers as social media advocates

When times change they change all sections of society, however only two of those sections tend to cross over and in a major way. Those two are food and the way people talk about food. As a food warrior intern we are working to find out about what is making what, how and when they are doing it as well as how it contributes to the bigger picture. All of these things are believed to not be new questions but perhaps are being expressed differently. Ever since roughly 2004 there has been a rise in how people talk about their passions. Individual passions are art forms and it appears that the most common and definitely most shared are music and food.

With the introduction of MySpace, many users utilized its services to share personal new tracks or their favorite biggest hits. the transformation to Facebook was a way for people in the elite academic circles to connect. Currently looking at the evolution of Facebook it is greatly used as a way for people to share their pictures.

Twitter joined the conversation in 2008 and soon because a place for people to hone in on their niche interests and ‘follow’ handlebars that speak directly to those interests. The live-feed of the Twitter sphere can be a public space for advocacy in food, women’s’ rights, politics in general or even children’s safety over seas.

Many of the pictures that stream through a foodies Facebook newsfeed come from the meals they eat, markets and grocery stores they shop at, restaurants they dine at, and even farms they visit. Today there is strong urge for restaurants, markets and all establishments striving to sell a product to join Facebook. This is even more apparent with the current shift in the food industry that is promoting locally and seasonal ingredients. The tweets that are being updated from these food establishments follow a similar track.

Years ago the majority of Americans were farmers and the food served to a community was different as you traveled across the world. Today you can chow down on something from each end of the universe, not really… but maybe someday? The technological advancements in agriculture, the government and then obviously our food production has removed people from food and even disconnected them from their own cultures. The shift in our food system today is fighting against this disconnect and striving to revert back to the ‘olden days’. The farmers, food artisans, and consumers are doing so because of their ingrained interest of enjoying food that is wholesome, good and clean.

Tying the growing social media spheres along with this shift in our food systems leads to a lot of different conversations. The constant stream of knowledge that each farmer, food artisan and establishment experiences can now be shared with others in the same field. The idea of competition between producers in a market is decreasing to build a community and overall shape society. Social media is a way for the producers to connect with consumers and offer them what is wanted as well as for consumers to learn more about what’s provided. Food systems have always been a two way street communication between producers and consumers, but until now there hasn’t been one sphere for this to happen. Thus introducing social network sites.

For more tangible examples a few of us who are Real Time Farms Food Warriors stumbled upon farmers that are sharing their stories through pictures and information online. Click the images to experience their farm from the virtual side.

  

  

To dive into Food Advocacy in the Twitterverse, check out one of my previous posts discussing just that.

All hail social connections and good food.

Amy Verhey

Summer 2012 Food Warrior

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