Posted on August 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM by Iowa Corn
In most households, women are the decision makers when it comes to food purchases. And more and more women are becoming interested—and in some cases, concerned—about what they are hearing about where their family’s food comes from and how it’s produced.
Who better to talk with about these concerns than a fellow mom who helps produce that food? That’s the focus of CommonGround, a national initiative in which volunteer farm women interact with urban women in grocery stores, food shows and other events across America. While many CommonGround conversations take place in large urban areas, these conversations are also taking place in Nebraska communities such as Grand Island, Norfolk and Hastings.
“Our goal is to have conversations between women who grow food and women who buy food,” said Dawn Caldwell, an Edgar farmer and CommonGround volunteer. “We want them to realize that, in most cases, the media coverage is much more colorful and exaggerated than real life.”
According to Caldwell, older women tend to know where their food comes from, but have questions
regarding the value of organic versus conventional— or the differences between corn-fed and grassfed beef. Younger consumers are concerned about the use of antibiotics, hormone implants and the general safety of the food they eat.
“We actually tend to do more listening than talking,” she added. “Then we explain how and why we do what we do—and that we’re very comfortable with the choices we’re making as producers.”
One of the most memorable experiences was a trip to New York City to meet with leading food editors from national media. “We were the only booth not serving food, but we were also the only booth with people who actually grow food,” Caldwell said. “We had a long line of editors waiting to talk with us—many of whom had never been outside the city.”
Caldwell said, “ t’s important that urban women understand that their concerns are shared by the farm women who help grow their food.” “We’re normal people just like them. We shop in the same grocery stores and eat in the same restaurants,” she said. “In the end, it’s all good—organic, processed foods and conventional agriculture. It really comes down to having the information you need to make the right decisions for you and your family.”
To find out more visit, findourcommonground.com.
~ CornsTalk Summer 2013 Issue