COMMONGROUND WOMEN BRING STORY OF AG TO EAST COAST FOOD ELITE

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(Posted Wed. May 22nd, 2013)

May 22: Last week, CommonGround took conversations about food and farming to New England, hosting a dinner for influential members of Boston’s media and food communities. CommonGround volunteer Joan Ruskamp from Nebraska, Christine Lindner from Wisconsin and Rachel Heimerl from Ohio shared dinner with chefs and mama bloggers at Anthem Kitchen + Bar in Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace. During the event, the farm women provided unique insight about what happens on farms across America’s Heartland for the East Coast food elites.

“I found that, more than anything, people who do not see farming around them have questions about how the food on their plates was grown or raised,” said Ruskamp. “This curiosity is completely understandable. We all just want to feel good about how we care for ourselves and our families. By sharing our experiences as farmers, I feel like we helped alleviate some of their food fears and opened an ongoing dialogue that will spread the word that America’s family farmers want to share real, open conversations about food with consumers.”

The dinner in Boston, which was the first of its kind in that area, was organized to build upon the success that many state CommonGround programs have had with similar activities in their areas. From Sioux Falls, S.D. to Louisville, Ky. and Denver, Colo. to Columbus, Ohio, CommonGround volunteers have opened a dialogue that helps share their stories, the real story behind America’s food, while learning more about consumer concerns.

CommonGround is a grass-roots movement to foster conversation among women — on farms and in cities — about where our food comes from. The National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates developed CommonGround to give farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers through the use of a wide range of activities.

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