Focus on Food When Communicating with Public Advised02 October 2013
CANADA - The executive director of Farm and Food Care Ontario is encouraging farmers to focus on the food they produce when communicating with consumers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"Proudly Presenting Agriculture" will be among the topics highlighted in Saskatoon in November as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2013.
Crystal Mackay, the executive director of Farm and Food Care-Ontario, says monitoring of public attitudes has shown 94 per cent of Canadians indicate they know little or nothing about farming and have little interest in learning about agriculture but they are interested in their food.
Crystal Mackay-Farm and Food Care-Ontario
It all starts with food and I think positioning agriculture to say we are in the business of feeding Canadians.
Traditionally we've talked about terms like agriculture awareness, agriculture education.
It's very clear from our work, the public does not want to be educated about farming.
They're passionately interested in knowing more about how their food is produced.
That's where we meet the average person, three times a day at the dinner table or at the drive-through, wherever it may be so anything to do with health or food safety so questions about how the food is produced.
Are there additives, difficult questions around antibiotics or products like chemicals.
People are most interested in their health, so health and food safety one and two, then the distant third would be around economics and affordability.
Obviously you have to afford the food and then followed by environment and animal welfare.
For people in our industry, we need to reposition it to say, you have questions about where your food comes from, we're the best people to talk about it.
That is the absolutes bright spot in our public attitude study work is the public is really interested in knowing where their food comes from and they want to hear it from farmers.
They just don't know who we are or where to find us.
Ms Mackay acknowledges there are some amazing efforts being undertaken across the Canada to better communicate with the public but she suggests the volume needs to be turned up a bit.
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