Born of a partnership between and funding from the United Soybean Board and the National Corn Growers Association, an organization called CommonGround has pulled together a network of 200 women farmers across 19 states to educate others on how food is grown.
“The biggest strength is the desire for these farmers to have conversations with moms who have great questions and concerns about their food,” says Missy Morgan, associate director of CommonGround. She says CommonGround members take to the airwaves, blogs, local events and social media to provide knowledgeable advocates and science-backed research.
“Our women farmers really have compassion for moms, because for the most part our farmers are also mothers,” Morgan explains. “They know how much moms care about giving their children the best, safest foods because they care about that too.”
Of their many contributions, CommonGround volunteers often find themselves addressing misconceptions, from how they raise their animals to production methods.
In South Carolina, Caci Nance found CommonGround through the state soybean board director. She’d already been blogging about farming and raising a family, and education was part of her job too.
Recently, a commenter on a CommonGround blog post raised the issue of nitrate pollution in runoff. Nance swiftly addressed the issue, relying on her farming experience and expertise as her county’s water quality educator.
“Volunteers attend a national conference, where they have the opportunity to hear the latest consumer research and insights, and also meet women farmers in the program from other states,” says Morgan. “Our state partners often have state-level conferences where they plan local activities for the year.”
Nance says: “CommonGround utilizes women in the best way I’ve seen to make conversations relatable and real. Women are much more likely to reach out and connect in a conversational manner.”
And, she adds, “No matter what kind of farmer we are, we care not only about the bottom line, but also the environment, the livestock. We all want to take care of what we have.”