Thursday, February 2, 2012

Delicious Dining on the Farm

Submitted by Barry Nelson, Manager, Media Relations, John Deere

Last summer, I attended a special dining event that featured a well-known chef in the Kansas City area. The event was held at a small farm North of Kansas City and everything served was from a local vendor or farm. The beer and wine, the lamb, vegetables, fruit, bread and pastry were all from local producers. 

We had a group of 32 people, all seated together, eating family style. As each part of the meal was served, the chef explained the choice of food, where it was produced, and why the appropriate wine or beverage was selected for that particular food. 

This type of dining experience has become very popular throughout the United States. To me, this was a celebration of agriculture at its most basic element. We all enjoyed the dining experience and we learned much about the food we were eating and the hard work that went into bringing it to this special event.

Also—to give credit to the chef and manager of this group meal—they did not criticize large production agriculture, but simply explained the benefits of the food they selected for dinner and promoted the farmers that produced this food, locally.

Everyone who attended this special dining event was from Kansas City, not from a farm, and had no farming background. These folks were treated to a great dinner and, through the dining experience, learned about how to raise the food presented at the table. Everyone truly appreciated what it took to bring a great tasting meal to them that evening. 

As we continue to promote agriculture and the importance of feeding the world, we need to be inclusive of all types of agriculture. Some of these local dining experiences provide a wonderful connection to urban folks who would never be exposed to the challenges of bringing food to the table (beyond shopping at a local grocery store or driving through a fast food restaurant). These experiences are very positive, personal and enjoyable; and help remind people that farmers provide safe, nutritious, and healthy food locally … and to the world.

This particular venue also allowed me to discuss the challenges of production farming, the special equipment needed and the issue of feeding a growing world population. Food was central to the conversation and brought many people with different backgrounds and experiences together for a memorable event. Agriculture is for everyone and such events as these can help support what our farmers and ranchers do every day! Bon Appetit!