Agriculture Influencers, or “Agvocates” as they often refer to themselves, need to stop doing this “us vs them” mentality style of social media posts. When an agriculture influencer eludes to the thought that only city people use grocery stores it only helps further the divide between the rural communities and the people who live in the city.
I saw an Instagram post from a young female farmer that said “food does not come from grocery stores, it comes from farmers.” I understand the young farmer is trying to raise awareness about who grows the food that is sold in grocery stores, yet at the same time, that young farmer just lost a lot of credibility with me about her ability to be an advocate because food does in fact come from grocery stores. Let me explain why.
Chances are that same young farmer uses a grocery store just like the rest of us. It’s not just the city people who use grocery stores, many farmers use them as well. Now sure I know that many farmers may raise their own beef, or pork and maybe their own milk and eggs to name a few things that are commonly grown on a farm, but chances are there are many items they still have to get from the grocery store that they are not producing themselves.
Let me paint a picture of what happens if we cut out the grocery store and the factories that produce food and we just buy everything from the farmer, or the person growing or producing the food.
I live in Nebraska, I will be really hard pressed to find someone local who will be able to sell me all of the ingredients to make homemade tacos. Living in the beef state, I am confident I can find someone locally who can sell me a couple pounds of ground beef that they raised and harvested themselves. But…. What about a jar of salsa, some tortillas, cilantro, an avocado, oh and my one child does not want tacos, so I will need a loaf of bread, some lunch meat, a slice of cheese, and a little mayo and mustard to top it off. Can one farmer sell me all of that? I am most likely going to have to venture around to several different farms to find all of these items, and good luck finding someone around here actually growing an avocado. After supper, my kids have asked for a piece of cake and some ice cream, I don’t even want to go down the road of where I am going to find someone to sell me all of the ingredients for that stuff.
Most of the items I mentioned before can all be made at home, if you have all of the raw ingredients. But that’s not what the city people want to do. Farmers are just as busy as the city people, do the farmers today have the time to make everything from scratch, or are they also more inclined to just grab items from the grocery store once a month, or once a week or however they do their grocery shopping?
Grocery stores are not the problem, they are not the enemy, they have evolved from people wanting to simply things in their life, and they have given the consumers what they have asked for. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the need to educate the common person about where the food comes from and that it is not just some big corporate farm producing all of this food, but we need to find a way to educate the masses without being so condescending or creating a division and stigma that grocery stores are only for the uneducated city dwellers. We need to stop painting a picture that the farmers are so different that those of us in the city, where in fact we really all do have a lot in common, often more things in common than some people are willing to admit.