Sunday 01st of February 2015

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  • The 10 Reasons They Hate You

    Why can't we all just get along? Mike Smith sifts through the new-age philosophy behind today’s resentment toward Big Farming. Read full story.

  • Thou Shalt Not Kill (Animals)?

    Is this a blanket condemnation of food-animal production? Read full story.

  • The Horror Show that Won't Die

    Food Inc. follows in the footsteps of other modern campy horror flicks: Splashy, escapist and horrifying for all the wrong reasons. Read the full story.

  • Earth is Great; Earth is Good. Let us Thank Her for our Food

    Here’s why the faithful should shun the Church of the Divine Palate. Read the full story.

  • The New Food Puritans

    Why moralizing about food choices has replaced moralizing about sexual choices: A Truth in Food conversation with author Mary Eberstadt. Listen to the interview.

  • Where Have You Gone, Moral Champion?

    Our food chain turns its lonely eyes to HSUS. Here’s why agriculture must reclaim its moral birthright, starting now. Read the full story.

  • Give Me My Butterfinger, or Give Me Death?

    Will conceding government's role in telling food retailers how to market and sell junkfood put us on a slippery slope to freedom lost? Read the full story.


Slideshow: 10 Lessons about the state of agricultural education in today's universities Print E-mail

Agriculture can no longer wait for the university to produce the next generation of food system leaders and then pursue the timely and costly process of challenging and attempting to convert deeply imbedded and taught flawed views. Modern agriculture must show up on college campuses and contend for the truth at the moment of impact. Here's why, in 10 piercing points.

 
Action Alert: An Open Letter to Hyatt Regency and Truth in Food Readers Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Murphy   

Hyatt may want to Thoughtfully ReconsiderOn Aug. 2, I shared with you my personal experience of having been exposed to the Hyatt Regency’s Food Thoughtfully Sourced and Carefully Served campaign. I contended Hyatt Regency’s marketing efforts were highly flawed and downright dishonest. Here's how Susan Santiago, vice president of food and beverage for the global hotel and resort chain, answered my inquiry:

 
Has Hyatt Simply Dressed Up Chipotle's Message with White Tablecloths? Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Murphy   

Is Food Thoughtfully Sourced an extension of Food With Integrity?

Thoughtless food need not applyThis year the American Dairy Science Association and American Society of Animal Scientists added a unique component to their joint meeting, one that has been sorely lacking from past agendas and one ASAS President James Sartin and ADSA President Ken McGuffey labeled a “new and emerging topic:” bioethics -- the field of study concerned with ethical behavior within our life sciences.


Click here to add your name to the list of those urging Hyatt to Thoughtfully Reconsider its marketing campaign.


For several years now I have been warning the agricultural community of the swift and unfettered advancement of the Food Morality Movement. This movement condemns agriculture and challenges it to explain its behavior based on the grounds of religion, ethics and morality.

Richard Reynnells, former national program lead for the United States Department of Agriculture, extended a kind invitation to have me speak at the 2013 meeting after reading Where Have You Gone Moral Champion? a story exposing the weakness of agriculture’s over-reliance on science alone as a defense to a moral inquiry.

 
That Glowing Dodge Ram “God Made a Farmer” SuperBowl Commercial? A Miserable Failure Print E-mail
Written by Mike Smith   

It must be a flop. It breaks all the ‘agvocacy’ rules

Just hold your Hemi-gunning horses here. Everyone in the agritwitter is in love--and I mean love--this morning over Dodge’s appropriation of Paul Harvey’s 1978 “God Made a Farmer” speech for its blood-pounding SuperBowl spot. Sure, it’s a nice speech, well-delivered and all. But it can’t possibly be effective. No way it can support modern agriculture. It must fail, for it simply violates too many of the rules we’ve been taught.

• It made no mention of the growing planetary population, more demanding consumers, green revolutionaries or 9 billion people to feed by 2050.

• It completely failed to wedge in any mention of improved efficiency, responsible innovation, best practices, enhanced production transparency or productive resource allocation.

• It did nothing to highlight U.S. agriculture’s continual commitment to producing safe, nutritious and affordable food in a responsible manner that best incorporates the highest measurements of animal welfare and employee protection.

• Temple Grandin? Nowhere to be found.

• It missed the chance to talk up the high standards beef producers use to produce beef, to educate consumers about what would happen without a poultry industry, or to deliver a positive pork industry message of continual quality improvement.

• It absolutely fizzled in procuring social license to produce, protecting the producer’s freedom to operate, illuminating shared societal values, embracing foundational trust-building, connecting on intra-system commonalities, or fostering open and productive relationships.

• It didn’t even try to incorporate sound science to counter the misinformation about modern agriculture passed off as fact.

• It shut out the many voices now conversing about food and farming. It didn’t invite critics to the big table to engage in dialogue. It failed in the mission to educate and inform consumers to feel comfortable in whatever food choice they wish to make, incorporating food grown, processed and sold in a variety of systems.

• It wasn’t brought to you by your Beef Checkoff, paid for by Americas dairy farmers, funded by your Corn Checkoff investments, supported by the nation’s Pork Producers, brought to you in cooperation with McDonalds or fully endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.

• It paid no mind to the fact farmers deserve choice, just as food buyers deserve choice. It lent no invitation to sit down together and make common cause.

• Food dialogues with critics? No mention. Meaningful two-way conversation? Wasn’t having any of it.

• It shrugged off stewardship, environmental sustainability, food integrity, Supermarket Gurus, self-owned narratives, interpersonal trust-enhancement techniques, consumer expectations, clear and consistent high standards set by each farm and its workers, and natural distinctions between farmers and the act of farming.

• It couldn’t even take 3 seconds to remind 155 people that one farmer feeds them.

• Proactive? Hell, the thing’s going on 35 years old.

Nice try, there, Dodge. I’ll give you a few sepic soundbites there. Sure, you pulled off a nostalgic line or two that may catch the hearts of some of us farm-country expatriates unguarded. But when it comes to carefully, responsibly, seriously crafting the common message platforms and themes that are designed to build consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system, you might want to stand back. We hire professionals who do that sort of thing for us in open and airy downtown lofts at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. Thanks for the brief attention, but agvocacy’s professional communicators have it covered.

 
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Reader Comments

  • While I agree with about 99% of what Mike Smith writes, I'm guessing a part of that literary hug is that he writes it so damn well...I tell ya, Mike, there's a book in there somewhere...well done. More...
  • We are on the threshold of being able to produce synthetic meat on an industrial scale in such a way that -- 1. It is indistinguishable from the natural product (Except for the absence of all foreign ... More...
  • This Universe is created to be complete.There is edible, inedible and then there is poison too naturally existing! And then there is intelligence to be able to discriminate between what is edible, in... More...
  • Myself, a vegan choose not to be apart of the horrific injustice bestowed on the life around us so I can eat or look better. Its only because we have evolved that I can make this choice. A few hundred... More...
  • This Universe is created to be complete.There is edible, inedible and then there is poison too naturally existing! And then there is intelligence to be able to discriminate between what is edible, in... More...
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