Meredith: Has PETA gone too far? It’s not even a question
It’s Thanksgiving again--and you know what that means; a beautiful, cornbread-stuffed turkey with all the fixings, traveling to be with family and friends, and giving thanks for a year’s worth of blessings. But it also means that those of us--like the staff here at the Animal Agriculture Alliance--wait with baited breath for the inevitable barrage of anti-Thanksgiving rhetoric from animal rights groups like PETA. While perusing what has quickly become one of my favorite news websites for information and inspiration, the new Huffington Post Food for Thought (brought to you in part by “Big Burrito” aka Chipotle), I came across an animated... View Blog Post »
Blog: Farmers - not activists - feed the world
In many ways, America is the land of plenty. This is certainly the case when it comes to food--most Americans are lucky enough to have an abundance of choices at the grocery store. But for 1 in 6 people in the United States, America is not the land of plenty. Last month was National Hunger Awareness month, and for the millions of Americans struggling with food insecurity, hunger is a reality that is not confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain demographics. We hear a lot about the global food crisis that’s coming in 2050--how we’ll... View Blog Post »
Meredith: Do backyard chicken coops put the "fun" in farming?
Do backyard chicken coops put the “fun” in farming? Apparently not. Despite visions of quaint coops, happy birds and cheap eggs, the growing trend of raising backyard chickens in urban settings is backfiring, as disillusioned city dwellers, eco-enthusiasts and hipsters are running from their coops as fast as their Birkenstocks can carry them. Over the last several months, there have been dozens of articles written about how hundreds of chickens are being abandoned at the nation’s shelters from California to New York as naïve urbanites discover that—surprise, surprise—farming is actually hard work and takes a lot more knowledge and skill than they... View Blog Post »
When your cousin goes vegan
I started noticing it six, or so, months ago: some particularly “veggie heavy” recipes in the annual family exchange, a few Pinterest posts tagging “Meatless Mondays.” It was a slow build, but soon enough my teenage cousin was visiting my family, sitting at my mother’s Sunday table and refusing bacon: “I’m a vegetarian.” “Excuse me, what?” It’s true, came the reply—she’s sworn off turkey on Thanksgiving, her beloved ham roll-ups, burgers, hot dogs, and of course, bacon. The only silver lining is that she’s still eating cheese (otherwise I don’t know if our home state of Wisconsin would ever forgive her!). My cousin... View Blog Post »
Meredith: Are we overreacting?
I had the privilege this week to speak to a group from Georgia comprised of leaders in agriculture. After I was done with my little schpeal, a very astute gentleman asked me pointedly, “Emily, don’t you just think we’re overreacting?” It’s a good question—are these questions from consumers, this turmoil about food, and the activist group campaigns against animal ag just a trend that will soon fall by the wayside? Golly, I hope so. Do I think that’s likely? No. So are we overreacting? I don’t think so. Granted, I overreact to things probably 20 times a day. From a misplaced article... View Blog Post »
Don’t “Pull a Paula"
Ahh, Paula Deen. Whether you’re a fan of butter, good ol’ southern cooking and the once-voluptuous Paula Deen, or not, I’m sure you’re familiar with the public relations crisis that just keeps giving. Last week, Ms. Deen faced major criticism for statements made in a deposition for a discrimination lawsuit by one of her former employees. The story originated with The Enquirer on the morning of June 19, and was later confirmed by the Huffington Post (which obtained copies of a deposition transcript), that afternoon. In that document, Ms. Deen admitted that she had tolerated racist jokes and had made racist remarks.... View Blog Post »
What food trucks say about Americans’ love for food
Two weekends ago, I found myself on the tail-end of a week of business travel. After flying to Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday for the World Pork Expo, there I was, five days later, at the BlogHer Food Conference in Austin, Texas; a city whose motto is “stay weird.” Surrounded by some of the most widely-read, influential blogging moms, I found myself thinking about food, cooking and our industry’s complicated relationship with the aforementioned. I think that I’ve allowed my time spent taking the defensive position and have become jaded about the American public, and the consumer. As much as I always... View Blog Post »
A tunnel to China - is the grass greener?
When I was younger, I remember reading in a children’s book that you could dig a hole – a really deep hole – and eventually reach China. Ignoring the fact that in practice, your hole-digging journey would be hampered by the Earth’s molten core, and that geographically speaking, your tunnel would end up somewhere in India--not China--nowadays you don’t really need to “dig” to reach the foreign shores of Asia. We live in a global economy, folks, which is why news of Smithfield’s merger with Shuanghui, shouldn’t really have been that much of a surprise. Dr. Mark Lyons, vice president of corporate affairs... View Blog Post »
I Get So Emotional, Baby
This week, I was in Lexington, Ken. at Alltech’s 29th annual International Symposium. While waiting for the conference to get underway, I’ve been using my travel time to catch up on some much needed reading. At another conference a few weeks ago, I bought a copy of the book Contagious, Why Things Catch On, written by Jonah Berger. Mr. Berger is a Wharton school of business marketing professor who has spent the last decade trying to figure out the science behind why people talk about certain products, why some stories and rumors are infectious, and what makes online content viral. I’ve written about... View Blog Post »
Getting to know our true stakeholders
The Animal Agriculture Alliance recently kicked off its 12th annual Stakeholders Summit with a wide range of speakers, from online moms to the former Under-Secretary for USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. While the speakers came from different backgrounds and had very different personalities, one theme resonated above all the rest. In the first presentation of the day, Joe Miller, General Counsel for Rose Acre Farms, stated about consumers: “they don’t need to know us, we need to know them.” The theme of getting to know our true stakeholders, asking them what they want, and giving it to them is one that resonated... View Blog Post »
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