CommonGround volunteers Kristin Reese and LaVell Winsor, also a blogger for Farm Futures, this week participated in a series of interviews to answer agricultural questions about organic foods and biotechnology.
"It is natural for people who aren't involved in the raising or growing of their food to have questions about how that is done," said Reese, who farms in Ohio. "What I want to do, along with my fellow volunteers, is start a conversation with people who have these types of questions so that we can share and learn from one another. No one should have to fear their food, but if someone has concerns, we are there to share our experience as farmers."
Reese and Winsor took part in 25 interviews, both live and taped, which will reach 21 specific media markets and blog readers and radio listeners nationally. They are both involved in CommonGround, a movement to provide consumers with real answers about their food.
Winsor, who farms in Kansas, noted that "with most Americans now two or three generations removed from farming, it makes sense that so many people are looking to find out more about the foods they eat and who grows them. For example, a lot of the people that I have met through CommonGround have been genuinely surprised to learn that about 96% of American farms are family farms.
"I have found that people are excited to find out that families, much like their own, grow their food. Through honest, open dialogue with farmers, people might be surprised to find what an incredible story their food has to tell and how it just keeps getting better," Winsor noted.
While many hosts focused on how people with questions could use CommonGround volunteers and the group's website to find information, the women also responded to a variety of specific questions about production practices, technology and the difference between the wide variety of food choices available to American consumers.
In response to a question about the growing popularity of organic foods, Reese explained that CommonGround volunteers include farmers who use both traditional and organic methods.
"While we embrace the diversity of agriculture, we do want to offer information about how all kinds of food are grown so that shoppers can make the best choices for their unique family based on solid information," Reese said. "Whether organic or traditionally grown, America's farmers grow and raise an array of healthy, nutritious foods that consumers can feel confident about feeding their families."
Interviews will air in many U.S. cities and towns: Harrisburg, Penn.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Lima, Ohio; Huntsville, Ala.; Rochester, N.Y.; Peoria, Ill.; Rochester, Minn.; Mason City, Iowa; Boston, Mass.; Evansville, Ind.; Toledo, Ohio; Monroe, La.; Amarillo, Texas; Minneapolis, Minn.; New Orleans, La.; Abilene, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; Fargo, N.D.; Detroit, Mich.; Toledo, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; and in many parts of Virginia.
Additionally, information from these interviews will be featured in blogs such as Celebrate Woman Today, Earnest Parenting and Motherhood Moment and on radio stations across the country through It's Your Health Network.
Source: National Corn Growers Association