By: Kimberly Reed, Executive Director, IFIC Foundation Date: 3/8/2012
Happy National Ag Day 2012 from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and the IFIC Foundation!
You may remember that about a year ago, we gathered at the U.S. Capitol to celebrate the launch of the Alliance to Feed the Future. Today, we celebrate the Alliance's first year of successes, including growing its membership by more than 70 percent, from 52 to 89 groups. There are hundreds of valuable information resources that are provided by these groups on the Alliance website.
The Alliance partners, which span all sectors of the food value chain, from farmer organizations and commodity groups to industry, professional societies, and academia, are committed to telling the true story of modern food production. Over the next year, we hope to further expand our partners and continue to raise awareness of the value of “Farm to Fork." If you want more details on the Alliance, please visit: www.alliancetofeedthefuture.org.
Last week, I saw several of our Alliance partners at the Commodity Classic in Nashville, TN. We heard compelling stories of how farmers, ranchers, and others are using modern agriculture and food production to help ensure that Americans and others around the world have access to food, feed, fiber, and fuel. The importance of their work will only continue to increase as the world's population grows from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050.
During the Commodity Classic, we also enjoyed talking with a wide variety of journalists who, like the IFIC Foundation and other Alliance to Feed the Future partners, feature stories on important facts about modern food production. Journalists are key to help those who are not "on the farm" to understand and better appreciate the important work that takes place there.
The accompanying picture is of one such journalist, Larry Dreiling, of the High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, with me at our IFIC Foundation exhibit booth. As part of its nonprofit educational mission, the IFIC Foundation media team regularly connects journalists to resources and hundreds of outside independent academicians and experts on a variety of food topics to help get science in their stories. We connected Larry to our "Understanding Our Food Toolkit."
Journalist Chuck Zimmerman, of AgWired, also was reporting on the Commodity Classic. He showed me how he could instantly, from his mobile device, share a story with thousands of readers. For example, when we had a tornado warning, Chuck instantly reported on it.
Through his blog post, Chuck helped me, a West Virginia girl who grew up on a farm, but never experienced a tornado warning, to appreciate that, for farmers from the Midwest, tornado warnings are a common occurrence: "We’re kind of used to this sort of thing."
(Sidenote confession: When those sirens sounded, I was ready to run to "my home among those West Virginia hills." My new farmer friends, however, reassured me that a windowless basement hallway was a pretty safe place to be to wait the storm out. We had some great conversations!)
Blessedly, I and other Commodity Classic attendees were not "blown away" by any tornadoes, but we were "blown away" with the stories about the valuable impact that our farmers make, and, through technology, will continue to make, when it comes to feeding our growing world.
I hope some of you can attend the Commodity Classic next year. Until then, let's all take a moment today to tweet, blog, email, Facebook, link, and "old-fashioned talk to one another" about the important contributions farmers make to feeding our world.
Thank you, farmers! Happy National Ag Day and happy first anniversary to the Alliance to Feed the Future!