Having just read Holly’s (Re)-United and It Feels So Good blog (www.prairiefarmer.com/blogs.aspx/reunited/and/it/feels/so/good/1601
), I can definitely attest to the fact that consumers in the metropolitan St. Louis area are clueless when it comes to farming.
Living in Decatur, folks are reminded daily what farmers do for a living. If the presence of the ADM and Staley plants aren’t enough of a reminder, just try driving through the town during normal working hours. You’re bound to be stopped by a trainload of corn or corn products. Even if most of Decatur doesn’t farm, most probably know someone who is connected to the farm industry.
St. Louis is a completely different situation. Around here, the buy local theme is omnipresent. In every grocery store, there’s a big deal made about how local the tomatoes are. I’ve seen a lot of willy nilly advertising about how such and such restaurant only buys the freshest, local produce. In fact, I’m eagerly waiting for winter. If I’m still seeing these ads, I’m going to start calling some folks out.
I’m sure most St. Louisans are convinced that a family farmer is one who grows tomatoes, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. While there are a lot of good family produce operations around here, I see a lot more corn and soybean fields.
I hope to see the reach of this new Farmer Image Campaign down in this area. This area is very proud of its local businesses. Maybe if they just realized what was going out in the prairie just east of the big city, they’d have something else to champion.
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