No More Food Fights

Michele Payn-Knoper's No More Food Fights! book

It’s a phrase I’ve uttered only once in my own kitchen … but it’s a frustrated feeling I’ve had time and again while discussing the food we eat and the people who grow it with those who consume it every day. Food is a hot topic for many reasons, and Michele Payn-Knoper wants to facilitate the conversation. I’ve only just begun to read her new book — there’s a Farm Side and when flipped, a Food Side. The thought of growing a productive farm and food conversation is reason enough to intrigue me, but it was her inscription that hooked me from the start:

Peace.

Isn’t that what we all want?

I do … whether I’m serving supper to family, ordering at a restaurant or shopping for ingredients at the grocery store or farmer’s market. We want a peaceful, easy feeling when we dine … and I’m not talking about a meal where no one spills the milk, feeds the dog under the table or refuses to eat Brussels sprouts. I’m talking meals free from anxiety … meals we’re confident offer our families healthy, high-quality ingredients. Aesop wrote, “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” Amen.

Today we [society in general] are more disconnected than ever from the folks who grow our food. Less than 1.5% percent of our nation lives or works on a farm. Farming used to be common practice but today a majority of families are several generations removed from first-hand farming experience.

No More Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation speaks to all sides of the food movement. Payn-Knoper wrote the book after continuously witnessing the growing divide between farmers and eaters. She believes it’s causing confusion in the grocery aisles and placing the future of farming at risk. But today it’s easier than ever to talk turkey — or produce, milk, cheese, pork, lamb or beef, for that matter — with the people who grow it, raise it, make it and serve it up.

She suggests several ways to connect with the people who provide our food:

  • Find them on Facebook. Farmers are just as prolific online as the population in general, and many are active on Facebook. Like their pages, ask them questions and share your thoughts. They want to hear from you!
  • Read and comment on blogs or websites. Many farmers have active websites or blogs they frequently update. Many offer opportunities for comments. [And speaking from my perspective, visit Manfull Orchards & Twigg Winery and they’re on Facebook!]
  • Twitter up. Farmers also are on Twitter and frequently engage in tweet-ups with each other or consumers. Twitter groups like @foodchat and @agchat facilitate the conversation.
  • Plan a visit with three types of farms. Farmers increasingly offer on-site tours. Check their websites and take every opportunity you can. But, mix it up. Visit a small farm, big farm, produce farm, dairy farm, or ranch.
  • Visit a farmers’ market during off-peak hours. Farmers’ markets makes it easier than ever to literally reach across the table to shake the hand that feeds us. But, plan your visit for either the beginning or end of the market — when farmers have the most time to talk one-on-one.

No More Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation is available from Amazon or in print at Cause Matters. Digital versions are available for iPad, Kindle and Nook. Learn more about the book, its author and the growing conversation at CauseMatters.com. And of course, eat up!

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