Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Preparting for Portland & IFBC 2012

As an active agvocate, I am always happy to share my story. So, you can imagine my excitement when Teresa from the National Pork Board contacted me about a unique opportunity. The National Pork Board is sponsoring a breakfast at this year’s International Food Bloggers Conference, which will give food bloggers a chance to talk directly to hog farmers and learn more about modern pork production. Well, since we are simply Hog Wild about farming I was all too happy to say YES to this great opportunity to meet new people and spread the word of AG. The IFBC 2012 is being held in Portland, OR this year so that makes it even more exciting for two reasons: 1) I have never been to Oregon; 2) This is a rare chance to connect with people (particularly foodies) that I normally would never encounter. I believe between the Pork Board’s efforts and that of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance we are definitely on the right track to an open dialogue between farmers and consumers. There is a communication gap between the people that raise food and the people who only see the end result. This gap must be closed in order to not only improve farming but improve the way people think about farming. Never have people felt so removed from the farm and this is why, I think, there is such uproar over farming practices. While farming has improved over the decades we are still learning and it still has a long way to go; however, farming will never reach its full potential if we do not connect with the people that depend on us. Farmers know the land, they know their animals, but they don’t know everything and it is easy to become jaded and lose sight of the bigger picture. This is why we need to open the lines of communication on both sides of the gap. We may not agree on everything put if we at least have an open conversation about it we stand to learn more than we ever thought possible. Each side has legitimate concerns and each side thinks they know better but how can we improve if we never look at the other side? There is more than one way to farm and that is what makes farming fabulous—it’s diversity.

The main topic of this breakfast panel is the We Care Initiative and how we use it on our farm. This may sound like a slogan to some but for pork producers it actually means something. Here is a video that gives a sample of what the We Care program means:

I am looking forward to speaking with all the chefs, food bloggers, agents and editors, cookbook writers, and otherwise food curious folks in Portland. I am hoping for an enlightening and enjoyable conversation about food, farming, and the yumminess of pork. Hope to see you in Portland.

Are you going to this year’s IFBC? I’d love to hear from you!

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