Why is it important to manage your story? In this post, we’ll share the ways you can actively grow your following and support network.
Building trust in the absence of knowledge
Traditionally, farmers have been defensive and closed about their practices, for fear of ridicule. Vicious social media ‘trolls’ have had some farmers recoiling, bruised and battered. It is going to be tough for farmers to change that pattern of withdrawal in the absence of sympathy, and to share their stories.
We are here to help.
There are two main audiences for our farmer stories; other farmers and their customers
Farmers. Charles Massy writes in his book, Call of the Reed Warbler , 'as we can't force change then instead we have to make sure that regenerative agriculture readily presents itself as a viable alternative for whenever people are ready for change.' I share Massey’s belief that the key to change is sharing stories or narratives that are 'meaningful, substantive and relevant depictions of a new reality'. We are sharing films about farmers who have already taken a leap of faith to holistic practices and are reaping the rewards in their own heallth and the health of their farms.
Evidence shows that farmers learn best from other farmers. We know that there is a feast of information, courses and evidence including studies from around the world that demonstrate the economic, social and environmental benefits of the ecological intensification of farming practices. However, both the heart and mind need to be engaged in a relatable, inspiring story to really create change.
I started my social enterprise, the Grow Love Project, with my filmmaker husband in order to assist the leaders in sustainable agriculture tell their stories of change. We produce films and podcasts to create impact by leveraging the farmers who are breaking new ground in sustainable agriculture. We are inspiring farmers to grow, adapt and innovate by sharing stories of change from other farmers who have already innovated.
Customers. The farmer's paddock to plate customers include wholsalers, retailers and the general public both in Australia and overseas. Any consumer that is conscious of their health and the environment knows what a mindfield it is to choose products that align with their values. Marketing on packaging can be misleading, industry terms ill defined and complex and people just want to know they are being given the whole truth.
Storytelling is a powerful means to break down misconceptions and create awareness. When people are able to 'meet' the farmer and 'visit' the farm through film a connection is made, trust is built and loyalty follows. A growing number of the public realise that their purchasing decisions can change the way farmers farm, so they want to choose a good egg.
If society as consumers are encouraged to recognise and embrace their role as change agents in farming, then it is more likely that consumers will back up that sentiment with conscious purchases. Ever since visiting Mulloon Creek farm and Farmer Browns and seeing their pasture-raised egg farm, my family have purchased pasture-raised premium eggs. We do this knowing that we are buying a healthy egg, from happy hens. Farmer Browns uses regenerative practices and employs local staff. We know when we buy an egg from Mulloon Creek the profits go into supporting the Mulloon Institute. The Institute is a not-for-profit research, education and advocacy organisation that actively demonstrates, monitors and shares innovative approaches to regenerative land management. This brings home two points. As society partly determines the right to farm, it becomes desirable for non-farmers to at least visit farms so they can influence farm policy in a more educated way. The second point is that consumers are looking for pathways to contribute financially to industries that are creating ecological and social benefits. The farming industry needs to create more of these opportunities.
We provide farmers with the tools to share their practices and ethos. We create and share paddock-to-plate stories at the point of sale, in stores, on boxes, at dinners and online to educate the public so they are able to confidently choose products that align with their values. The public realise that their purchasing decisions can change the way farmers farm, so they want to choose a good egg.
Call us today for a free consultation and start telling your story today.
5% of Grow Love Profits profits go towards making farmer to farmer conversation films check out one about David Marsh, and get inspired!
12 Massy, C., Call of the Reed Warbler : a new agriculture : a new earth. St Lucia, Queensland : University of Queensland Press, 2017, p. 500