Lights. Camera. Food?

Last month, the Farmers & Ranchers Alliance hosted a two-day Food Dialogues event titled, "Lights, Camera, Food: Perceptions and Realities of Farming and Ranching in America" to address consumers’ concerns about food production.

Reality television, documentaries and news investigations are often times critical of today’s food system, its players and practices. The goal of the two-day event was to discuss perceptions and realities of food and farming.

According to the website, the event comprised of four separate discussions that brought together entertainment movers and shakers, chefs, academics, large restaurant operators, journalists, local leaders and farmers and ranchers for in-depth conversations about food. Discussions included:

  • Hollywood and “Vine”: The Intersection of Pop Culture and Food Production
  • Meeting of the Minds: Touring Hollywood’s Urban Farm
  • The Great Debate: Science, Technology and Food 
  • The Real Chef Challenge: Understanding How Food is Grown and Raised

Because it was such a unique event, I thought I’d share excerpts from some of the keynote discussions. Below are excerpts from the keynote conversation about the intersection of pop culture and food.
“If we stop being so judgmental and come together in the same room, we  find we have a  lot of shared values,” said Dr. J. Scott Vernon, agricultural communication professor at California Polytechnic State University.

“We are the same people with the same feelings and life experiences,” said Juliet D’Annibale, television producer. It’s not a matter of finding the right message; it’s a matter of exposing oneself and being truly honest about things that are uncomfortable for you. That’s what resonates with people.” 

Central Ohio farmer, Kristin Reese, was invited to participate as a member of “The Real Chef Challenge” panel.

“When I arrived, I saw very few familiar faces and asked myself how I fit into this equation,” said Reese. “But as our conversation began, I came to realize the importance of a small farmer and mother role at our conversation table.”

You can watch video highlights and review all of the panel discussions at

What do you think of the Food Dialogues event? Do you think events and discussions that bring farmers and consumers together to discuss farming practices are beneficial?

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