Feb 20, 2012

Lost in the Food Fact Clutter?

I along with Rachel  Heimerl (left) and Gretchen Mossbarger
(center) are three farm women volunteers representing Ohio.

CommonGroundTM website now answers consumer questions about farming and food

Contrary to popular belief, straightforward answers to your farming and food questions do exist. Now, consumers can find answers in one location as a result of www.FindOurCommonGround.com.
The website has transitioned from informing audiences about the CommonGround program to providing a resource for consumers on many of the most popular food and farming topics. As CommonGround sorts through the questions and some of the misconceptions consumers may have, the program’s volunteers will provide visitors with a combination of firsthand accounts of what happens on their farms and scientific research.
“I hope our website will make people aware of the fact there is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Jennifer Schmidt, a CommonGround volunteer and diversified farmer from Sudlersville, Md. “Not all farmers live near or have access to urban consumers like I do in the mid-Atlantic region. Our website is a great way for farm women from all over the country to connect with consumers and share our stories.”
The enhanced site will introduce visitors to farmer volunteers such as Schmidt, who also is a registered dietitian. It also streamlines its focus on the top eight issues consumers ask volunteers about food. Those issues include:

• Animal Welfare

• Antibiotics

• Corporate Farms

• Food Prices

• GMO Foods

• Hormones

• Local/Organic

• Safety

CommonGround volunteers, like Bennett, Colo., farmer Danell Kalcevic, will dive into each issue by addressing consumer misconceptions related to their farm.
“For me, I want consumers to know that we (farmers) do not do things to harm anyone, and we eat the same food they do,” said Kalcevic, who raises a variety of crops, including wheat, millet, sunflowers, corn and cattle. “It is counterproductive to intentionally do things to the land, crops or animals we raise, and eventually sell or export, because that food ends up on our tables. I encourage consumers to check things out before spreading information that could be false.”
But sharing farmers’ personal stories serves as only one part of the equation. Making sure consumers understand the regulations farmers must follow is just as important, said CommonGround Volunteer, Renee Fordyce, who raises crops and cattle on her farm in Bethany, Mo.
“I am not a scientist, nor do I have a Ph.D., but I can speak from my personal experiences,” said Fordyce. “Sometimes all people want is a simple answer to address their concerns about food. If they want more meat to my answer, I feel comfortable directing them to CommonGround’s website because of the sound science we have to back up our experiences.”
From research to recipes, CommonGround volunteers hope to help visitors will find the answers to their important questions about food.
Have a question you want answered? CommonGround will not let it go unanswered. Find us online:

Website: www.FindOurCommonGround.com
YouTube: FindOurCommonGround
Twitter: @CommonGroundNow
Twitter Hashtag: #CGConvo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommonGroundNow

About CommonGround™

CommonGround is a grassroots movement to foster conversation among women – on farms and in cities – about where our food comes from. The United Soybean Board (USB) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) developed CommonGround to give farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers using a wide range of activities. USB and NCGA provide support and a platform for the volunteers to tell their stories. The opinions and statements made by the volunteers are not necessarily representative of the policies and opinions of USB or NCGA

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