The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance hosted their third Food Dialogues in New York City, on Thursday, November 15. The day featured three panels discussing topics ranging from media to genetically modified seed.
Moderated by Ali Velshi, CNN chief business correspondent, the first panel covered Media, Marketing and Healthy Choices. Panelists included Richard Ball, New York vegetable farmer; Debbi Beauvais, New York School Nutrition President and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson; Blake Hurst, Missouri farmer and president of Missouri Farm Bureau; Tracie McMillan, author of "The American Way of Eating"; Craig McNamara, California organic farmer; Carolyn O'Neil, WebMD; Kat Kinsman, managing editor, CNN Eatocracy.
The very friendly discussion began with McMillan sharing about her experiences working in grocery stores and living on her income of $3 to $8 an hour. "I found I was less excited about cooking. And I became less interested in eating well," she described.
"I was reminded that I have to keep the real working class in mind in this discussion."
Kinsman described her experience in sharing farmers' stories through the CNN blog, Eatocracy. She learned of a farmer named Ryan Goodman through a blog comment, and found his blog showing day to day life on the farm. She asked him to write a piece for Eatocracy, which "started a really great series I've been very happy about. Mike Haley, Craig Rogers now writing too and taking questions. When you invite public in to ask questions and critique, there's tremendous hostility that somehow farmers are getting one over on them that they're sitting back lazily taking subsidies. This has led to a lot of fighting but also to some really productive conversations and changing of minds. You can do that just by starting a blog."