I feel a bit like I’m off to summer camp to meet my pen pals.
Every Tuesday night, a diverse group of people participate in a Twitter chat using the hashtag #agchat — it’s a moderated online conversation of usually about a dozen questions on a focused agriculture topic, ranging from use of smartphones to farm regulation.
The AgChat℠ Foundation is designed to help those who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed tell agriculture’s story from their point of view. The Foundation will educate and equip farmers and ranchers with the skill set needed to effectively engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Linkedin and other social media services. It will give them knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. Research shows that social media is a growing opportunity for farmers to have a stronger voice in educating people about the business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber.
The Foundation is built from the highly visible “#AgChat” community on Twitter. This weekly moderated chat has served as an international meeting place where the people of agriculture can discuss difficult issues, tell their farm stories and identify ways to connect with people outside of agriculture. More than 2,000 people from seven countries have participated in #AgChat since it started in April 2009. And that’s only the beginning.
Farmers are leading a grassroots effort to develop the AgChat℠ Foundation. The organization is designed to connect agriculture in communities beyond Twitter. Four program areas have been identified to maximize agriculture’s opportunity with social media – be sure to see what farmers have to say about why this is important.
Though this group effectively uses social media to build community, there’s no substitute for meeting people face to face. We’re doing that in Nashville at an event called Agvocacy.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and I hope to learn a lot.
Meantime, some of my past posts on farms and farmers markets include:
- Focusing on farming and the American food supply — a summary of tidbits from the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association convention this February
- Newvine Growing book club: Food Matters by Mark Bittman
- I heart farmers’ markets — or how a kid raised on canned veggies loaded with butter learned to love the real thing
- The tour of best farmers markets
- Newving Growing — what I’m doing to help farmers and farmers markets talk to customers