Category Archives: food & farm

food & farm

Monsanto Who?

“So I’m writing this story about Monsanto,” I said to my friend.

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

“Who?”

“Monsanto.”

“Never heard of them.”

My husband’s career in agriculture spans nearly 30 years. I take it as a given that everyone’s heard of Monsanto.

The company is one of the big dogs in farming and biotechnology. If you live in St. Louis, as I did for almost 13 years, you know Monsanto. If you eat food raised in the United States, it’s possible Monsanto has been involved in the production of that food in some way.

But I discovered from talking with my friend that there are people who don’t know Monsanto or what they do. And then there are a lot of people who only know what they’ve heard from activists and Food, Inc.

With that in mind and with the guidance from my editors at BlogHer, I tried to write a story that gives readers some context for what Monsanto does and communicates the thoughts of four women I interviewed who work there.

Please click over to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto on BlogHer. Your classy comments and shares are appreciated. 

Listening to the Women of Monsanto

Megan Brown & Janice Person at Monsanto Research Plot, image credit Janice Person

Click to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto. Megan Brown (L) and Janice Person (R) at a Monsanto research plot, image credit: Janice Person

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: James Jordan via photopin cc

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God Made a Farmer

Did you see this ad on the Super Bowl last night? My husband Jeff and I sat mesmerized through Paul Harvey’s eloquent reading.

Jeff and I have both spent time working in or with advertising agencies. At the end of this commercial, we declared, “Now that was a good ad!” It was magical really. Here’s why:

The alchemy between the creative and the client worked. The Richards Group agency and the marketing people at Ram Trucks obviously shared a vision that allowed the creative to flourish. It’s rare when this happens, but the result is genius. On message, on target, emotive, evocative.

We were hanging on the edge of our seats. We wanted to know: Who was responsible for this commercial? The payoff came silently at the end of the two-minute spot. We own a Ford, but we’ll remember Ram.

farm sky

farm sky

It captured the essence of the American farmer. Many jobs are strenuous, underpaid, and thankless, but farming stands in a class all its own. The farmer is an entrepreneur. The farmer assumes all the risks, performs executive decision-making side-by-side with menial tasks, and endures browbeating from people who’ve never set foot in a field. And yet the farmer perseveres, spurred on by love of the land, the work, the life, and the noble mission of feeding people.

The message was elevated, and so was the viewer. This commercial told a story without dumbed-down slapstick comedy or sexualized crudeness. The visuals were simple, beautiful, dignified—the makings of great theater. We applaud and request an encore.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

What were your impressions of this ad? What were your favorite Super Bowl commercials?

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Standing Up for Chick-fil-A

Pam Thompson knows timing is everything.

Pam Thompson

Pam Thompson

The mother of six children (six!), Pam’s blog is understandably called It’s Time for More Coffee! Pam makes every second count.

You may recall the battle boiling back in the sweltering heat of July. Gay rights activists sniped at Chick-fil-A’s founding family for personal contributions they made to organizations that support the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. The activists’ irritation with the Cathy family had been building for years. Last July it reached a fevered pitch.

BlogHer published an op-ed from a woman who was boycotting Chick-fil-A and the Boy Scouts. I watched for the rebuttal post. I waited and waited to see the other side of the story. When no alternative response came, I pitched BlogHer my own.

First published here as Why I Will Eat Mor Chikin, BlogHer accepted my story and syndicated it the week of the BlogHer Conference in New York, vaulting the post to my most-read story this year.

The BlogHer audience came unglued with its publication. Many readers dialogued with civility, but many did not. I received hateful comments and tweets from strangers. More importantly, I received messages of support and solidarity from strangers, too. People were reading, relating, agreeing, and praying. One message of courage came from a pastor in North Dakota whom I’d never met. Soon I connected with his wife online. She is Pam Thompson.

Timing is everything, and everything belongs to God.

Pam’s Reader’s Choice is:

Standing Up for Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A cow at family event

click to read Standing Up for Chick-fil-A on BlogHer

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: What Organic Food Is and Is Not

Nothing ages me faster than calling my niece “Dr. Whetstine.” 

Jena Whetstine & Jessica Brotherton

Jena Whetstine (right) with sister Jessica Whetstine Brotherton at Jessica’s wedding

Professor Jena Whetstine has her Ph.D. in chemistry. My collegiate career, on the other hand, did not include one hour of chemistry. Does psychology still count as a science? 

Our family is exceedingly proud of this accomplished young woman, all her siblings, and cousins. She is, and they are, beautiful on the inside and out with the easy-going, never-met-a-stranger warmth and sense of humor my husband’s family exudes.

Jena picked this post because as a chemist she found it “very entertaining.” Humor wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but you never know with chemists.

Jena’s Reader’s Choice is: 

What Organic Food Is and Is Not

bell peppers

click to read What Organic Food Is and Is Not

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Where’s the Beef?

Anna Petersen

Anna Petersen

Many of you met Anna Petersen (aka Chef Nusy) earlier this year when she requested I add her selection to the Reader’s Choice 2011 list

When I asked what her choice for 2012 would be, she was ready. “Having kids eat healthier is a great thing,” she said. “But trying to do it in a one-size-fits-all manner has never, ever worked.”

Law school is on the horizon for this fencer-immigrant-chef-student. Anna’s lobbying skills combined with her determination and common sense promise to make her one excellent attorney.

Anna’s Reader’s Choice is:

Where’s the Beef?

Where's the Beef?

click to read Where’s the Beef?

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Moon Walk

Anne Burkholder and her husband Matt are the only two Dartmouth graduates who live in rural Nebraska. 

Anne Burkholder

Anne Burkholder

Anne and Matt have worked his family’s diversified farm for 15 years. He farms 5,000 acres of alfalfa and she is “boss lady” of a 3,000-head feedyard.

This past June, the Burkholder’s farm was featured in BusinessWeek, and earlier this month, Anne appeared on RFD-TV. Her blog Feedyard Foodie is a steady, intelligent voice in today’s turbulent conversations about animal welfare and ranching.

Anne carefully selected her Reader’s Choice post. “I love it because being alone with God and nature is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “It soothes the soul—centers your perspective—and lends itself to feelings of hope and promise.”

Oh, how I long for that this Christmas. Anne’s Reader’s Choice is: 

Moon Walk

in the field

click to read Moon Walk

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Food Fright

Remember Ryan Goodman?

Ryan Goodman

Ryan Goodman

He’s the young cowboy we visited last March. He’s been quite busy since then. Besides full-time graduate school, Ryan’s been blogging his passion for agriculture on CNN’s food blog Eatocracy.

You read that right: C-N-N.

Ryan graciously agreed to take a moment out of his celebrity schedule to be in our little Reader’s Choice feature. Meanwhile, our friend Dairy Carrie let me hijack his blog as a Bandita. I’ve never been a Bandita before! 

See my surprise guest post today on Ryan’s blog Agriculture Proud. But first, Ryan’s Reader’s Choice is:

Food Fright

click to read Food Fright

click to read Food Fright

Reader's Choice 2012

 

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