The CommonGround program this week launched their new website. The website provides resources on many of the most popular food and farming topics. Volunteers from the CommonGround program will also provide website 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; antibiotic use in animal agriculture; corporate farming; food prices; biotechnology and food; hormone use in animal agriculture; the local and organic foods movements; and food safety.
CommonGround volunteers, like Bennett, Colo., farmer Danell Kalcevic, dive into each issue by addressing some questions that consumers might have about what they do on their farms.
“For me, I want consumers to know that we do not do things to harm anyone, and we eat the same food they do,” said Kalcevic, who raises 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 and find out that we share their concerns and raise our crops and livestock accordingly.”
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.