As harsh winter weather gripped much of the nation recently lifestyle celebrity and media personality Martha Stewart posted a message on Twitter voicing concern about the plight of farm animals. The tweet presented an opportunity for the agriculture community to communicate with a diverse audience about why most livestock and poultry farmers today choose to raise animals indoors.

Encouraging farmers to use such a forum to connect with a population that has little understanding of today’s food system is the goal of a new web-based resource from the Center for Food Integrity (CFI). It’s called the Farmer Resource Center, and it offers a variety of tools and advice to farmers and others in the food system interested in engaging with peers and the media on food related topics.

 “Our research tells us consumers are increasingly turning to online sources for information about the food system,” said Jim Fallon, representing CFI. “But they also receive information from friends and family, their local TV station, newspapers, and radio as well. This site offers tools and advice for farmers and food system leaders to use to engage with consumers via all of these sources.”

The website serves as a central online resource for people wanting to correct misinformation or just join the national conversation on food-related topics. The site offers messaging, materials, and best practices for engaging with consumers.

The site also features a Social Media Help Desk that offers social media support and assistance. The Help Desk can be reached directly at (877) 402-4CFI (4234) or at helpdesk@foodintegrity.org.  Visitors will find assistance in responding to news articles or setting up online tools, such as blogs and Facebook pages.

“We encourage everyone in the food system to monitor local sources of information and be ready to make your voice heard,” said Fallon. “When there are inaccuracies, be prepared to tell your story and present truthful information so consumers can see another side of the story.”