Hi, my name is Gayle Anderson and I am married to a 4th generation farmer in North Idaho.
I began my passion for being an “Agra-diva” back in 2009 when I attended a Women’s Leadership conference in beautiful North Carolina which was sponsored by Syngenta and the National Assoc. of Wheat Growers. From there, one of the most important messages that I took back with me was that women in Ag can reach consumers like no one else. Women tend to have better communication skills and as they put it, “are more believable” when we tell our story. After all, who is going to argue with a farm-mom?
So I started blogging about our farm to put a face on the family farmer as a way to “tell our story, our way”. I also use my blog as a tool to interact with consumers and at the end of my blog; I always post my email address for questions.
My husband and I also started our “Dinner on the Farm” where the consumer guest comes out to the farm, we have about an hour farm tour of crop/equipment, then we all head to the farmhouse for a hearty meal and great conversation. This is our fourth year of doing it and this year, Farm Journal magazine is coming to do a story on it. Our dinner is a free event, but it is by application or invite only to keep the numbers small and manageable so people have a small intimate group where they can freely ask questions and almost have a one on one visit with the farmer (we usually have 8 guests and 4 farm hosts).
A video from one of last year’s dinners is included below. I took this video with me back to Chicago when I presented at the first Agriculture Women’s Executive conference on my role of using outreach efforts to help bridge the gap between consumer and those of us who grow what we all eat. Our Dinner on the Farm is during our garbanzo harvest, which is less hectic than the wheat harvest and the guests love this event.
Our local state grain associations also have us host “trade teams” that come to Idaho, so they can meet the actual growers. So far we have hosted the Philippine Bakers & Millers trade team as well as the Japan Trade team in our home. The international guests marvel at being invited to a grower’s home, having a dinner and the rapport it builds between growers and buyers.
Thanks so much Gayle for sharing your story and for being such a great voice for agriculture!