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Monday, May 16, 2011

Ask Me About Agriculture: Bluestem Bistro

I was in the coffee shop here awhile back avoiding the work I needed to do. What can I do to avoid work, I thought? Then I noticed, the coffee shop was full of sorority girls, popped collars and Polo hats. People who looked like they needed an education on agriculture – and I was just in the mood to give ‘em one.

I however was looking for a method to engage with my fellow coffee shoppers outside of accosting them. Climbing on top of the espresso machine and calling the room to attention I feared would shorten my welcome. Humm.

I will make a sign I proclaimed! It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

I placed this beauty of a sign in view of my fellow caffeine cronies. Apparently there were others who didn’t want to be working… I was entirely occupied with conversation for the rest of the evening.


The questions were far from profound. Most people just wanted to know what a crazy man was doing soliciting conversation about – of all things – agriculture. I was a point of interest to say the least. I feel like people just want to ask questions and get answers that aren’t full of crazy science and political motive. “What was it like growing up on a farm?” it was great; let me tell you about it.

The conversations that Ag Advocates (Agvocates) are having with people need to be basic, connecting with people on a personal level. The quickest way to run someone off is to start preaching about how PETA and HSUS are ruining our lives and how veg-o’s need to go kick rocks. No matter how insignificant or kindergarten the conversation may seem to you, keep it up and be patient, it might be life-altering for someone else. The connection that you have with the person you are talking to is as important as the education.

Also, branch out! A wise man from the Judd Ranch once told me: “Love the ones who need it, not the ones who like it.” He was referring to very friendly pen bulls, but the principal works here. If you make a sign and fly it at the local coop during farmer coffee hour, you will probably be preaching to the choir. So, go to Starbucks, the mall, the park – somewhere where people aren’t wearing boots – and tell your story. Don’t be afraid of the Sperry-wearers; they are the ones who need the love. We have to educate the masses, the mainstream. We have a great opportunity, and judging from my coffee shop experience, people are willing to listen.

So make a sign and head to your local bistro. You might learn a thing or two too. I discovered this amazing little thing called espresso – it’s like black coffee only stronger!


Until next time-

B. Harder

4 comments:

  1. Way to engage people, Harder (and Kelsey too)!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great idea, Brandon! Sometimes it isn't easy to get out of our "comfort zones" but it can be very rewarding!!

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