Where Does My Food Come From?

I didn’t exactly grow up on a farm. I was born and raised in Los Angeles where lot sizes are measured in square footage, not acreage, and it might take you an hour and a half to drive 10 miles.  Despite that, we had a milkman, and I distinctly remember a school field trip to a dairy farm when I was in the 3rd grade. But I never had much interaction with farmers, farming, or agriculture – none really. I grew up in the city, and while I had great opportunities and learned a lot about a lot of different things, I learned very little about where the food in our refrigerator and on the dinner table came from. I didn’t know any farmers.

 

Kristi Spence is a sports nutritionist working for Utah & Nevada dairy farmers.

With just 2% of our population intimately involved with agriculture, this is by no means surprising. Despite our dependence on farmers, we are no longer an agrarian society, a fact illustrated by a recent experience.  Just over a year ago, I was giving a presentation with one of our dairy farmers in Logan, Utah. Logan is a college town with strong agricultural roots and boasts a growing population of just about 50,000. After our presentation, the teacher thanked me for bringing some information about farming to her students, “These city kids,” she said, “have never been on a farm. They have no idea where their food comes from.” Though I had left Los Angeles years prior, her comment gave me pause. If kids from Logan were “city kids,” we have a lot of work to do.

But I had come a long way from the kid who grew up in LA. A series of diverse work-experiences after college landed me in grad school pursuing a degree in sports nutrition. I am a distance runner – I ran in college and competed for several years after college and saw a huge need to bring nutrition education to young athletes. While advising athletes, developing programs, and conducting hands-on cooking workshops, I found myself spending a lot of time tinkering in the kitchen, playing with ingredients and asking the question so many people have at the moment, “Where does my food come from?”

 

So I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to go work for dairy farmers and really learn a bit more. As a dietitian and communicator for the Dairy Council of UT/NV, I am responsible for working with health professionals, creating informational materials for consumers, and translating scientific research into practical, applicable messages. I am responsible for generating tools that people can use and answering questions about why dairy products should have a place at the table. But before I can do any of that, before I can build those external relationships, I always have to take a step back. Where do milk, cheese, and yogurt come from? Who are the people that take care of the animals? What do their farms look like? Who are their families? Why have they chosen to stay on the farm? First and foremost, my responsibility is to our Utah and Nevada dairy farm families, to the people I represent and for whom I have the privilege of working. Only once I know them, once I understand, in my own non-farm-background-limited-way what dairy farming is all about can I even hope to speak effectively about where our food comes from and be a valuable resource for health professionals and the public. I get excited about introducing colleagues, friends, and family to our farmers – telling stories, showing pictures and videos, or inviting them to visit a farm.

Kristi Spence get a tour of a dairy farm.

In many ways, our food story has become unnecessarily complicated. At its core, our lifestyle, no matter where we live, is still built upon our humanity and our ability to build relationships and trust one another. I didn’t grow up on a farm or with farmers, but having this opportunity to work for farmers and get to know them has built a bridge and given me the chance to understand something more about the origin and production of our dairy foods. There is something profound about making a personal connection. Kids are more apt to try a new food when they have a hand in its preparation; it is easier to trust the advice of a friend.

 

The dairy industry is committed to bridging this gap and fostering relationships with the people behind our food supply – if not personally, then virtually.  Knowing our foods’ origins is the best way to begin building a healthy relationship with food itself.

What are you doing to know where your food comes from?

 

Kristi Spence is the VP of Communications for the Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada. She is a registered dietitian and certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, running, hiking, and connecting people with farmers. Check out www.thecowlocale.com and follow Kristi on Twitter @Kristiruns & @DairyUTNV

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

24 comments

  1. Caryl Velisek says:

    I’m a big city kid. So was my husband. We had both visited farms as children but I don’t think we ever questioned where our food came from back then. We were taught about it in school and from our parents. Shortly after our marriage, as a result of a date to the county fair and seeing some Angus cattle there, we got involved in agriculture and my husband became a cattleman. A pretty good one, I might add. We spent our marriage in the cattle business and our five children grew up in 4-H. We were both involved in cattle associations and held office in some and I was the executive secretary of our state association for 18 years. My husband died 12 years ago of Lyme Disease and I no longer live on a farm. I have been a journalist on the staff of an agricultural weekly newspaper for 32 years. I also published a book about our life in ag. That is part of what I do to tell people about ag. Face Book is also an excellent way to talk about ag to others. I live in a very populous area outside two large cities including D.C. and I am constantly amazed at how little people know about where their food comes from and how it is grown. I try to encourage young people to go into careers in agriculture also. We need more people like you. Thanks for what you do.

  2. [...] and spending time capturing the humanity behind your local dairy foods. Perhaps it is because I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I have always been intrigued by farming and the farming lifestyle. This trip gave me insight [...]

  3. [...] I didn’t exactly grow up on a farm. I was born and raised in Los Angeles where lot sizes are measured in square footage, not acreage, and it might take you an hour and a half to drive 10 miles.  Despite that, we had a milkman, and I distinctly remember a school field trip to a dairy farm when I was in the 3rd grade. But I never had much interaction with farmers, farming, or agriculture – none really. I grew up in the city, and while I had great opportunities and learned a lot about a lot of different things, I learned very little about where the food in our refrigerator and on the dinner table came from. I didn’t know any farmers.  (A longer version of my story – city girl turned farmer-advocate – was published 6/26 on …) [...]

  4. hcg supplies says:

    hcg supplies

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  5. massage fresno

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  6. Praxis says:

    Praxis

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  7. celebrity dress up day

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  8. Boca Raton resmed CPA supplies

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  9. garcinia fruit images

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  10. plastic Surgery in Brazil

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  11. autozone says:

    autozone

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  12. how to take garcinia cambogia dr. oz

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  13. mincir du ventre sans régime

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  14. Boutique dresses for wedding guests 2014

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  15. city of Boca Raton CPAt

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  16. pure cambogia extract capsules

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  17. Boca raton all girls summer camps

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  18. купить недвижимость в мюнхен

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  19. kingston brass sink reviews

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

  20. When using this product regularly, most users also notice new growth in areas that were previously thinning.
    Zinc absorption and vitamin C intake could
    be synergistic. These products work the best in younger men who have only begun to lose their hair,
    and in those whose androgenetic alopecia is still in the early stages
    where hair is thinning but continuing to grow.

  21. Hey There. I found your weblog using msn. That is an extremely neatly written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks
    for the post. I will definitely return.

  22. In the last five years, the survey states, a face life, or rhytidectomy, is one of
    the most requested of all invasive procedures. An experienced plastic surgeon can ensure
    you appealing aesthetic results with the help of innovative body
    contouring procedures. The various types of plastic surgery on the face are:.

  23. Staying up with the most current and greatest fashion development might seem like additional time than you have, but there are lots of spots
    that it is possible to visit quickly and easily get all in the fashion thing you may need.

    Readers may refer to a related article entitled The Best Fashion Merchandising Degree Schools in the U.
    Make room for your trendy new wardrobe by going through your old clothes and getting rid of unwanted clothes.

  24. find out here

    Where Does My Food Come From? | Just Farmers

Leave a Reply