Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in what’s called a “meetup.” In basic terms, it’s a get together organized on the internet, which anyone can choose to attend. You may or may not know anyone there. Generally there is a topic or theme for the occasion, thus those that attend self-select based on their interests.
First of all, the meetup was held at a place called Little Beans Café. It’s interesting to me that parents would pay a membership to have a place for their kids to play, but I guess that’s just an aspect of city life with which I’m unfamiliar. The part I was familiar with was the coffee shop! At Little Beans, you can sit down and enjoy a fresh coffee drink while your little one’s enjoy the climate and germ controlled play area.
I could go on and on about the various conversations and observations. Instead, I’ll just make a quick list.
- The types of questions and concerns we heard fell into thematic areas with which we anticipated.
- Many of the questions came straight from the script of Food, Inc.
- The moms, in many cases, just want to know that they don’t have to worry about whatever they’re worrying about!
- They became concerned about labeling and terms like “organic” and “Angus beef,” even feeling duped when they came to understand the marketing process.
- One-on-one conversations are the way to go.
- Social media (like this blog) is a great way to start the conversation and carry-on with it after face to face dialogue.
We’re on the right track with what the Illinois Corn Marketing Board is doing in terms of reaching out to different, influential audiences. The cooperative effort dubbed Illinois Farm Families (www.watchusgrow.org) is a great outreach component. We can apply these lessons at the Corn Crib and at NASCAR events, everywhere non-farmers are gathered and interested in food and farming!
But none of this is worth anything if the FARMERS are not involved in the conversation.
Have you talked with someone recently that challenged the way you think? Are you prepared for that to happen?
Just a little food for thought!