Every Monday our facilitator Jen Jenkins chats with our FarmOn Facebook Community; answering questions sent to us from real farmers, relating to agriculture and support for their business.
For the week of December 9th, 2013 we talked about a recent video produced by the Chipotle chain of restaurants, and how we as an agricultural community can create our own messages about the positive aspects of farming.
About the video:
According to Chipotle:
“The Scarecrow” is another chapter in our commitment to Food with Integrity, and represents what we aspire to accomplish through this mission. Our goal for “The Scarecrow” is to bring awareness of important issues to a broader audience, and we hope it entertains you as much as it makes you think.
“The Scarecrow” is at once an addicting game, a poignant short film, and a project that reflects what we believe in. The city of Plenty is a glimpse at a future that may not be far off. Processed food, animal confinement, and the use of synthetic growth hormones, non-therapeutic antibiotics, and toxic pesticides are rampant in our food supply. Educating people about alternatives is a journey for the Scarecrow, and it continues to be a journey for us.
In response to the video one of our community members sent us the following comments and question for our weekly chat:
I am sure by now most folks have seen the new Chipotle video “The Scarecrow” — or their first video “Back to the Start”.
As I watched these videos over the weekend, I wondered again if this is just a mere marketing tactic by Chipotle, or if this type of production will be more in demand in the future.
Maybe our farm should be looking into these “labelling” options even though we already raise our animals ethically.
As farmers, should we be participating in programs that allow us to label our products?
Interestingly, we didn’t receive many comments related to opinions about farm produce labelling, but what we did receive was some fantastic feedback on the importance of everyday farmers and ranchers having a strong voice in today’s media. Again, our chat conversation led us back to the passion our farmers have for “what they do” and “how they do it”, reminding us all to take responsibility for educating the public on our agriculture industry.
Here is what some of our community members had to say:
I say it all the time– it’s all about education. Labels can be misleading like the 100% beef. It reminds me of an ad campaign that a certain fast food restaurant had when they said their chicken nuggets are now 100% white meat. What were they before?! People will believe what they are told and not even think for themselves. There is another ad on TV that makes me very angry, again a fast food place advertising that they longer serve their meat with hormones or additives. A little research/education will go a long way. Trouble is we as farmers will have to change a lot of mindsets if this video depicts what the general population thinks agriculture is all about.
Yet another viewpoint on The Scarecrow
Farmers need to wake up to what is going on here. Companies like Whole Foods and Chipotle that make a fortune from selling consumers on “natural” and “organic” are better, are shaping the image of our industry over and over again. The irony is that companies like Chipotle want to attack the big corporate monster of agriculture but its okay that Chipotle has a market capitalization of 13.1 billion US dollars.
In reality it is the farmer, producer, grower or whatever title you give them, to step up and start getting more involved. Don’t roll your eyes, start getting involved. Too many times farmers have this notion that their only role is to produce food but underestimate the importance to lobby and fight for the industry they love so much. Every individual voice from farmers matters.
Are you interested in how you can be an advocate for agriculture? Here are some further links and resources to get you started:
How Will You Advocate for Agriculture
Don’t forget that your own questions or thoughts for our weekly Facebook chats are most welcome. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t worry – we promise not to disclose your name or personal details.