Bill Eberle is an operations manager at the Rosendale Dairy in Pickett, Wisconsin, which is that state’s largest dairy farm. He wrote this opinion piece for the Fond du Lac Reporter. In it, he decries what he sees as a growing disconnect between an urban elite (anchored on the coasts) and those who produce food. Eberle discusses the need “to inject a level of common sense into the ongoing conversation about what constitutes sustainable agriculture.” He wants to see more producers involved in the conversation… and he thinks social technologies may help farmers tell their stories.
“It is not a coincidence that this movement is fueled by well-moneyed interests on the West and East coasts — these are people (happily) as far removed from the realities of food production as their Madison Avenue or Orange County luxury condos will allow them. Nowhere was the disconnect more obvious than when the New York Times hosted an October 2014 “Food for Tomorrow” summit, which initially included a guest list of celebrity chefs, academics and journalists – but not a single working farmer. Only after howls of protests from organized agriculture associations and organizations did the Times grudgingly add actual food producers to their lineup.
In a sane world where serious policy discussions need to take place about farming sustainability, environmental accountability and animal welfare protections, the New York Times fiasco provides a measure of either: A) How out of touch the average American has become with the food chain, B) How critical it is for farmers to tell their own stories, C) How traditional media outlets have forfeited their responsibility toward objective information gathering or D) All of the above.”
A provocative read.