Agvocate or Educate? The Great Debate

Article by Jill from Crooked Farms

Advocate: (v) to speak or write in favour of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.

Educate: (v) give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone, esp. a child), typically at a school or university.

If you follow any agriculture social media you might be familiar with the term “agvocate”.  If you haven’t heard of the term before, to “agvocate” is to be a advocate for agriculture.  There has been some debate lately whether we as farmers should “agvocate”.  I did an interview recently while I was at FarmTech and one of the questions was how do I feel about agvocating.  I initially said that I do it, but it’s not for everyone.  As time wore on, I began thinking, do I actually advocate for agriculture, or am I trying to educate people?

My main goal of this website is to do the latter–provide information (educate) to people about what we do. More and more I’m having a hard time with the word “Agvocate”, especially when I think of being an advocate as someone who urges by argument.  We as farmers shouldn’t be urging people into information about agriculture by arguing with them.  However, I find on social media this is what seems to take place too often, whether it is intended or not.

We need to be quiet and listen to what the person is saying.  If they are asking questions, answer them.  If myths are being stated, provide the person with data that dispels the myth.  If we don’t know the answer to their question, point them in the direction of someone who might.  We need to keep people from “Googling” answers because I feel that is how myths and misinformation gets spread.  These are just a few simple tips that we can use to help educate people about agriculture.

Not everyone is meant to be an agvocate, but we can all educate.

Link photo by Gary Simmons

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