We designed a tour to give bloggers the complete picture. As we recruited bloggers, we discovered a gap between farm bloggers, who write about how food is grown, and food bloggers, who discuss how food is prepared and served.
What better way to bring them all together than around a table? The TASTE 15 tour was a five-month journey that started in Sacramento, California, where foodie and farmer bloggers got to learn through the lens of dairy, honey, olive oil and strawberries. Topics included pesticides, water usage and biotechnology. At the second meet-up in Arkansas, bloggers toured a meat processing facility and learned about animal stewardship, production standards, antibiotics and processing. The third meet-up took place in Chicago, where bloggers explored a grocery retailer and a working corn and soybean farm. They also enjoyed a chef-guided cooking experience.
Farmers and experts throughout the tour discussed farming, agronomy, orchard produce, nutrition, processed foods, technology in plants, labeling and food techniques.
Strong and positive relationships formed between the farm and food bloggers, and the reach of this tour was extremely successful. Ultimately, nearly 500 social mentions with over 5.2 million social media impressions came through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In the posts written after the TASTE 15 tour, bloggers showcased the impact that was made on their food choices.
One blogger wrote:
“I participated in the Taste 15 program to ‘open my mind’ to new ideas. Writing about biotech was inspiring, because my beliefs were challenged by new information. The story’s objective isn’t about solving problems, but to encourage visitors to think about how biotech is being debated.”