CommonGround, first created through a partnership among the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, has grown into a movement of more than 50 women from a diverse group of farming operations. These passionate volunteers give of their time and open their lives to start real conversations with moms about farming and food.
This week, CommonGround volunteer and Kansas farm mom LaVell Winsor spoke with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters about the program, saying consumers domestically and internationally have many questions about how farm families like hers grow food.
“Only one to two percent of our population farms,” Winsor explained. “So, the 98 to 99 percent of people who do not have a farm background could be two, three or maybe even four generations removed from agriculture. It makes sense that people have many legitimate questions about where their food comes from and what type of farm grows it. As CommonGround volunteers, we try and help answer those questions by explaining what we do on our farms and why we do these things.”
Winsor understands some perceive consumers’ questions negatively, but she says these questions open doors for farmers to share in a meaningful dialogue. As each farmer is the expert about his or her own operation, it is imperative that they discuss what they do, why they do it and why it plays an important role in growing a safe, abundant variety of foods.
“If we as farmers don’t share our stories, someone else is going to speak out with their notion of what happens on a farm,” she explained. “Even if every farmer only takes the time to speak with the people all around them, from friends of a family member to people at community events, answering their questions about how their food is grown, it can make a difference.”
To learn more about CommonGround, visit www.findingourcommonground.com. There, meet the volunteers, many of whom have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and blogs that share their stories. To connect with LaVell Winsor directly, visit her blog at www.growingfortomorrow.wordpress.com.