One of the things that strikes me is how it can seem at times like it is so hard to start conversations about agriculture with someone in the city. Today reminded me that it can also be very simple. It’s National Agriculture Day and I had thought about heading to a friend’s farm to see what was up out there or driving in the countryside generally, but then I realized a couple of errands I never seem to get to.
I decided to stay in the area and check errands off the list first. But shouldn’t I do some agvocating? The light bulb went off & I started searching my t-shirts til I found the one I was looking for & I found it perfect for the day!
First up? Get two paintings I bought in The Philippines framed. I may get credit for doing this on ag day, cause the paintings were of rice planting and harvest. Anyway, I had the worlds greatest framer when I lived in the Mississippi Delta and I had delayed doing anything here. These paintings propeled me to act though and with a recommendation from my neighbor, I felt confident I was headed the right way.
I walked in, the guy asked if he could help, I asked if he was Danny & unrolled the paintings when he said yes. He was trying to ask questions about dark woods, etc when he said something about the t-shirt and interesting abbreviations. He was grinning and I said it was ag day — time for folks like me to say thanks for all the farmers raising our food, feed & fiber. I guess that meant I was a trifecta of agness — had rice artwork, wearing a WTF t-shirt and knew it was ag day!
Since I was in Midtown Memphis, you may have thought the convo would move back to the framing and ag would be gone. Instead, he began telling me how he had grown up on a farm in Saskatchewan. (For Canadian friends, you know it took every fiber of my being not to ask whether he knew you by name! And yes, this blog post came right to mind!) He wishes his kids knew a bit more of what it’s like to grow up on a farm. We talked about canola / rapeseed and Canadian winters. And I think I may have just found folks who need to go on my farm tour!
As we wrapped up my business, another customer came in. He’d been in ag marketing. Liked the shirt & the rice paintings. Asked if I knew how many varieties of rice there were in the world. I said I had no idea but it had to be in the hundreds. Nope its in the thousands and I need to read more from IRRI — the IRRI site says there are more than 100,000 genetic different types of rice! Wow! That was a great lesson for my ag day!
From there, it was the car wash. Similar reaction to the shirt, different followup. And when I caught the lady who delivers my mail. And and a quick post of the shirt on my Facebook page got reactions from friends there too! And God only knows who I’ll strike up a convo with next cause I’m heading back out now. Seems the city of Memphis and errand running was the perfect place for me to do ag day outreach!
Hope you are enjoying ag day & putting it to good use doing some teaching & learning! It’s as easy as wearing a 100 percent cotton conversation starter!
IF YOU NEED SHOPPING TIPS: I got this great WTF? Where’s the food without the farmer? shirt from I Love Farmers, just bought a couple of others thru the National FFA Chapter contest too and Fastline posts a farm-related t-shirt of the week on the Fastline blog.