It is common for people involved in agriculture to say "Get to know your farmer" or "Learn from a farmer, not a Google search." I agree with these statements, but it's also easy for me because I know farmers; the average person does not. So what do people without a direct connection to farmers and ranchers do?
Josh and Sarah Ison, the farmers of Flourish & Roam, have made their farming procedures transparent and themselves available for their customers. F&R fits all the ways you can get to know your farmer. Visit them at www.flourishandroam.com
1. Social media is an easy way to get to know farmers. In the last several years farmers and ranchers have largely taken to social media to share how they grow the food and fiber that we eat and wear every day. You can find agricultural accounts across all the different social media platforms, so get on your favorite and start searching.
I would suggest using hashtag searches to get you started. You can go as broad as using #farming or #farmlife and you can narrow in on specific types of farms using searches like #beefranch or #plant2021. Just play with the searches to see what you can find. I suggest you do a little research before "jumping on the bandwagon" with a farmer as not everything on social media is true. If a website is listed on the account visit that, also check out some of their contacts to be sure everything seems in line.
2. Farmers markets are a great resource for meeting farmers. Farmers markets allow you to have a one-on-one conversation with farmers and give you the opportunity to ask questions about their products. Before you go to the market I would advise that you write down some questions that you have about agriculture and bring that with you so you don't get home after visiting the farmer and realize you forgot to ask a question.
3. Direct To Consumer farmers are similar to farmers markets except they either have you pick up at the farm or ship direct to you. Much like farmers markets, direct farmers will also be more interested in having conversations with you and building a relationship with you so you can feel comfortable purchasing their products.
With society moving more to virtual communication meeting in person can feel intimidating, but rest assured farmers- especially the ones on social media or at the farmers markets- want to talk with you. By nature farmers are a chatty bunch, so approach with confidence and be ready to spend some time making a new friend.
I will also add that I would love to be a resource for you and help you make a connection with a farmer or rancher. I have friends in agriculture across the country and would be more than happy to help you. firstname.lastname@example.org