4 ways you can improve how consumers see Canadian ag and food

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Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

Make a difference one conversation at time

Let’s be honest. It can be frustrating to hear misleading stories about food production. Consumers see sensationalized headlines about food production and may not have all the necessary facts to make informed food choices.

Keep in mind these tips next time you have a potentially heated conversation about ag and food:

  1. Listen, listen and listen. Then listen some more. Do you remember the last conversation you had where it felt like the other person truly understood where you were coming from? How did that affect your sense of connection to that person? Building trust matters. Practise active listening by re-framing what you’ve heard in a respectful way and make sure the other person agrees with your interpretation.
  2. Keep calm. Appreciate someone’s concern and genuine interest in food. It’s an opportunity for us in the ag industry to listen and connect. Remember that there are often observers evaluating how you handle the situation. In the case of extreme activism or cyber bullying, it’s perfectly OK to politely defer or completely exit a conversation.
  3. Dump your assumptions. It’s all too easy to lump consumers or “city people” into one category and assume they have certain opinions, experiences and knowledge. Remain curious — you may be surprised what you learn.
  4. Get personal. Connect the topic to your own farm and food story. Why do you do the things you do on your farm, or, in your work in the industry? What are your own concerns as a farmer, a parent, a business owner, a community member? Tie-in your own concerns and experiences to find common points of interest from the listening exercise in the first point.
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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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