(Posted Wed. Nov 21st, 2012)
Nov. 21: Food. Everyone buys it. Everyone eats it, and everyone talks about it. But, not everyone gets a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how food is grown, traveling with it as it goes from the farm to the plate. With more Americans growing up in urban and suburban areas, miles from farm life, there is an increasing disconnect between consumers and the people who grow their food.
Now, thanks to a program called CommonGround created through a partnership among the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, five Wisconsin farm women are working to reverse this trend by sharing their personal stories and experiences about farming and the food they produce.
"With so much information about food and how it is raised, we are here as a resource to help mothers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food, " said CommonGround Wisconsin administrator and farmer Nancy Kavazanjian. "We want mothers to make food choices based on facts, not fear. Very few people in urban areas have the opportunity to talk to farmers, the people who raise food. That's where CommonGround comes in. We want to be a resource moms can turn to for answers."
Wisconsin is one of 16 states participating in the CommonGround program. The Wisconsin volunteers launched their state program at the Madison Women's Expo at the Alliant Center November 17 and 18.
Attendees at the expo stopped by the CommonGround booth to talk to real Wisconsin farm women about food and farming. Topics discussed during the event included everything from food safety and hormones in dairy products to food pricing.
"It was exciting for me to participate in this first event because the women here had so many great questions", said Danielle Hammer, CommonGround volunteer from Beaver Dam, Wis. "I met one particular woman who wanted to know about "factory farming". It was a great opportunity to share that 99 percent of Wisconsin farms are owned and operated by families. I am thankful for the opportunity to connect with women buying food for their households as one of the people who raise it."
With more than 65 farm women participating in CommonGround, moms can feel confident using the farmer volunteers and website as a resource for information about food and farming.
All of the CommonGround spokeswomen are volunteer farmers who raise a variety of food and are passionate about telling the true story about today's agriculture.
The CommonGround program is active in sixteen states including Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The movement continues to grow and expand nationwide.
CommonGround is a grassroots movement created to foster conversation among women, on farms and in cities, about how food is grown and raised. CommonGround gives farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers using a wide range of activities, providing support and a platform for the volunteers to tell their stories.