(Posted Tue. Feb 5th, 2013)

Feb. 5: Last week, attendees of the Wisconsin Corn and Soy Expo met the faces that will represent their state’s farmers through the CommonGround program during an informational session held in conjunction with the event. Previewing the grassroots movement, orchestrated through the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, the interactive presentation highlighted how the CommonGround movement has grown as more and more women who buy food look for answers about how it was produced and the women who grow food open their farms and a dialogue to help them find answers.

“It was really exciting to see how farmers previously unfamiliar with CommonGround reacted to the questions and ideas posed during the presentation,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, who farms in Rosendale, Wisc. “The idea that these women open themselves to a real, honest discussion, promising only to remain positive and inclusive, felt exciting and empowering. CommonGround provides the tools for these volunteers, but their lives and experience are at the heart of the movement. With so much anti-ag propaganda, the idea of sincere, passionate discussions is refreshing.”

Following the informational session, a group of 15 women attended a session designed to start them along their path as volunteers. Offering exercises to practice answering tough questions while remaining positive and inclusive, the women gained the confidence that will allow them to share of their stories about food and farming with their counterparts who are removed from the farm. With more than 98 percent of Americans totally removed from agriculture, their work will come at a critical moment for family farmers.

For more information about CommonGround, click here. To connect with them through social media, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.