Editor’s Note: The BlogHer Food Conference in Austin, Texas brought food bloggers together to learn, share, inspire, and of course, eat. PorkNetwork’s own “Animal Ag Advocate” blogger, Emily Meredith, attended the conference and shares these interesting observations. Emily serves as Communications Director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance (read more at: http://bit.ly/12k9VOo)
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.
As much as I always tell my readers not to come from a place of negativity, some days I could benefit from reminding myself of the same thing. Let me tell you--the BlogHer Food conference kicked my jaded, negative-self right out the door.
These blogging moms think of pork in terms of spice-rubbed pulled pork, smothered in BBQ sauce, or as grilled pork chops with peach marmalade. They think about meat, milk and eggs as ingredients--not product; the components of a recipe that come together to form a truly sensational, memorable meal.
At the end of the day, when they’re trying to bake the next great cookie or win a deviled-egg recipe competition, they’re not fretting over whether their eggs are brown or white.
Of course there are exceptions. The vegan and vegetarian blogs had their place too, but their blogging personalities were represented in real-time around the conference table as polite, respectful mothers with a specific point of view.
To the majority of Americans removed from the family farm, food is just that—food, a means of nourishment. To blogging, Pinterest-ing, Facebook-ing moms, however, food is so much more. Food is family. It’s their connection to past, present and future generations. Food is a new recipe, a new blog, a vivid photo or a story.
Food Truck Experience
On the second day of the conference, we were bused to a local Austin park where food trucks set up for lunch, dinner and late-night bar patrons. Talk about a paved paradise in a parking lot! The National Pork Board sponsored a truck (the only free one!) where a former Top Chef winner whipped up scrumptious pork delights for hungry bloggers.
There was truck after truck of inventive culinary delights. One of my favorites was the “MMMMMpanadas” truck.
All around me, bloggers were snapping photos of their lunch selections, writing blogs on their smart phones and tablets, or just gabbing at big picnic tables. And they weren’t talking about animal rights or antibiotics: they were talking about food.
What do blogs and food trucks have in common? They both tell personal stories about how people love food and what’s meaningful to them. Food is love, and through writing and cooking, food truck chefs and passionate bloggers share their love with the public.
Farming is personal to you--I know, because every day I have the privilege to meet dedicated, passionate family farmers.
We can answer consumers’ questions by weaving yarns that are personal, but still address fundamental concerns--because guess what, how you care for your animals is personal. That’s the message that resonates. Those are the stories we need to tell.
That’s our industry’s recipe for success.