We are fortunate to be operating in a time where food production and its relationship to the land where it’s grown is becoming more of a known quantity. There are advocacy organizations for all aspects of a healthy food system, from protecting and preserving farmland to building vibrant farm-based businesses. Some organizations exist to share information and shed light on the issues at hand, while others put into practice innovative techniques that best work with the resources we currently have. So with all of this powerful work being done, we wonder what overall message the consumer is absorbing. Is it a message of doom and gloom, about individual responsibility and consequences? Is it an empowering message of daily opportunities to vote with your dollars and affect change from the inside out?
As a production farm, we are surrounded by colleagues in the Snoqualmie Valley and around the Pacific Northwest that are doing their work responsibly and are committed to feeding people real, healthy food. As a non-profit, we are surrounded by colleagues in our region and our nation that are also doing their work responsibly and committed to helping all people have access to real, healthy food. There are endless opportunities to work with our colleagues in the shared mission of feeding people, to move the conversation beyond why it’s important to make considerate food choices and towards how to make food choices that will actually affect change.
The American Farmland Trust (AFT) was founded 35 years ago in response to urban sprawl and rapidly increasing development. AFT has impacted the zeitgeist with their No Farms No Food campaign – a sound bite of a slogan that packs a punch. This definitive statement’s goal is to raise awareness through the distribution of free bumper stickers, and the simplicity of the bold white text on a green background gets the point across. The loss of farmland has a dire consequence, but simply making the statement is not a conversation starter. It’s a statement of fact. No Farms No Food, indeed. But then what? How do you make choices so that there are farms (and thus IS food)? How do you navigate the complex food economy that exists in a way that supports where food is grown and the people who grow it?
We were moved by the recent attempt to continue that simple conversation. Yes, No Farms No Food. BUT also Know Farms Know Food. It’s not enough anymore to simply state the fact, to tell people why farms are important. Our work is to engage people in the conversation about what farms are, and how consumer choices impact our food system. Know Farms Know Food is more complicated, but also more accessible. No Farms No Food is true, there is no question about that. But without knowledge, the “no” message can gain little traction and, in fact, is more of a dead end than it is a call to action.
We invite you to check out the work of our colleagues that is being done to challenge all consumers to know farms, and thus, know food: