Why should food and agriculture care about sustainability and the environment?
Because it’s an issue that affects us all. And because your stakeholders care.
With recent political discussions about the Green New Deal, it’s easy to get pulled into conversations about food and agriculture’s role in today’s changing environment. And it certainly does play a role – but so do many parts of our daily lives.
Agriculture, as a whole, contributes nine percent of total U.S. greenhouse gases. That means, those popularly politicized contributors (i.e. gassy cows), are just a very small part of the discussion regarding climate change.
But here’s the thing about consumers: They’re not sure farmers are doing enough. For the first time in The Center for Food Integrity’s 2017 research, respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with the following statement: “Do U.S. farmers take good care of the environment?” While 42 percent strongly agree, more than half – 51 percent – are ambivalent. They’re just not sure farmers are doing enough.
Add that sentiment to concerns over packaging, food waste, animal welfare, antibiotic resistance and feeding the growing population (although, that last one ranks very low for consumer concerns), and the food system finds itself at the epicenter for sustainability and environmental discussions.
How do we move forward?
Our great-grandparents were small family farms that didn’t use modern farming techniques like GMOs, pesticides or tractors. While some people still prefer those methods, our great-grandparents simply couldn’t produce as much food, and the losses of food and personal income were far greater than they are today.
The food system has been making modifications to seeds, farming practices and equipment for millennia. And we keep progressing. In addition to progressing behind the scenes, we must also tell our story. We must explain the why. Farmers are trusted and influential stakeholders amongst consumers. As we know from our shared-values approach, by inviting and welcoming questions from consumers, it allows food and agriculture to build a relationship with them for future conversations.
The sustainability conversation isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s getting louder. Let’s work outside of our silos and make progress together. Not sure about how to take that first step? Contact us.