Farmers Find A New Tool

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Katey Parker

Katey Parker › Katey's first food memory involves herself hands deep and covered in Gregg's famous chocolate cake, resulting ...

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The latest trend in food and agriculture is far from local, raw, organic or sustainable; it entails two hands and a power cord. 

Social media, a powerful networking tool, has become an integral part of the growing food community.  Everyone from farmers and artisans to nutritionists and teachers are congregating online to connect, share their experiences with food, spread information and change the way we eat. 

A group entitled “AgChat” is the latest instigator, holding weekly, moderated discussions on Twitter centered around farmers telling their stories.   Their mission is “agvocacy”: to highlight issues impacting the industry, and give farmers a voice to organize change.  Each two-hour session begins with a fifteen minute networking period, moves into a series of questions (many submitted in advance by followers) and ends with five minutes for pitches, ideal for food entrepreneurs.

Once a month, AgChat switches it up with its sister “FoodChat”, engaging participants with more generalized topics.  Last week’s chat included questions such as “How do you motivate yourself to eat healthy?” and “Where do you go for trusted nutrition information?”, encouraging the Twitterverse to share their personal eating habits, lifestyle changes and noteworthy educational resources. 

While current food, health and agricultural issues in the U.S. are plentiful, the predictions for trends in 2012, as expressed in these online chats, sound promising.  More “whole foods” with “better nutritional profiles,” as well as an emphasis on “how food gets from processor to plate” are what they’re expecting – and we hope they're correct.

To learn more, visit agchat.org or tune into #agchat every Tuesday and #foodchat every third Tuesday of the month, from 8-10 EST to join the conversation.