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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


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

  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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