Earlier this week, Canada celebrated the first ever, Canada's Agriculture Day on February 16th. #CDNAgDay was trending on social media all day - it was healthy to see people getting involved in the conversation around agriculture. There were people participating who otherwise, may not have even known what 'agriculture' is and how it impacts them each day with what they eat and the food they consume. It reminded me of an experience I had in January with fellow grocery shoppers I shared about on Twitter.
I happened to stop at the meat section where a young couple were trying to decide what type of chicken to buy. They were having a very educated conversation about antibiotics and growth hormones. You could tell they were confused though, about what type of chicken to ultimately buy based on the labels they were reading and the various brands, packages and options.
The 'agvocate' in me saw this as one of those rare opportunities.
A rare opportunity that a social media interaction or TV commercial with big marketing $$$ couldn't provide in the same way.
This was an opportunity to have a face-to-face, educated interaction in the middle of a grocery store with the product in our hands and with people who were interested in how their food was raised.
What type of facts did I share with this couple?
- That I am a dairy farmers' daughter who knows many chicken farmers in Ontario & Canada who take pride in growing the chicken they do for the Canadian public (this built 'credibility')
- That even I, as a person working and being raised in agriculture, find the choices overwhelming with the information and options available in grocery stores (we found common ground...'relatability')
- That chicken in Canada is some of the safest in the world because of the high standards of our food system- that all chicken available for purchase in Canada is Canadian because of supply management (same as dairy, turkey, eggs); that because of this, chicken sold in grocery stores won't be grown with growth hormones because that is not permitted in Canada (read here) and that Canadian chicken is grown in the most responsible way when it comes to the use of antibiotics (read here) (this gave them reliable information they could 'trust')
Luckily, the couple were extremely receptive to someone 'chatting them up' in the middle of their grocery shop. At the end of the productive conversation they said thanks and seemed grateful for the quick interaction as they happily walked off knowing they had made an informed buying decision (purchasing Canadian chicken!!!).
I've always thought it would be an awesome marketing campaign - to walk into a grocery store and have farmers who actually grew or raised the product, standing by their product to answer consumers' questions as they grocery shop. There would be no better way to connect people with the food they eat to the farmers who are proud to grow and raise it.
This simple 2 minute interaction proved the power of conversation. How you remember, through conversations and interactions like this to 1) build credibility with the person or people your speaking with; 2) make them feel like they can relate to you; and 3) share trustworthy and factual information to better equip them to make an informed decision.
These are the types of interactions and conversations we need to have more of in Canadian agriculture #Agvocacy