By: Amber Pankonin, RD
Millennials have often been referred to as the “foodie generation” because of their obsession with posting food pictures on social media. There is a lot to love about this generation, but does using hashtags like #Foodie #FarmFresh or #BuyLocal mean that you truly understand food or where it comes from? I believe calling yourself a “foodie” should involve understanding where your food comes from and respecting those that work to produce it.
I am guilty of being a millennial foodie who posts my meals on Instagram and even blogs about food. But today, foodies’ knowledge of food seems to be more of a fashion statement on social media. Millennials know the name brands of food fashion and how to position a photo to appeal to followers. Today’s millennials use farmers’ markets, farm-to-table restaurants., and specialty grocery stores as a status symbol. While those places do support the view that you can get to know a farmer, even in places like Nebraska where I am from, I know that the vast majority of farmers are not represented at farmers’ markets, nor are their stories heard or shared there. For example, I know several farmers that don’t sell their products at the farmers’ market. Even though their farms are family owned, their crops wouldn’t typically be sold at the farmers’ market. It doesn’t make their stories any less important than the farmer who chooses to sell their produce at the farmers’ market.
Even though I am addicted to taking photos of my food, my connection to food goes way beyond posting photos on social media. My connection to food and agriculture started at an early age. My grandparents were farmers and even though I didn’t grow up on a farm, my parents made sure to teach me about where my food came from. I never got to take photos of my food when I was younger, but I still have the mental images of sitting with my parents at the dinner table listening to my dad’s stories about the farm. Values like being honest, working hard, and loving your neighbor were all inspired because of his experiences on the farm. I believe the connection that I had with food at an early age inspired my love for food and is what led me to becoming a Registered Dietitian.
My hope is that millennials will begin to realize that being a foodie should mean more than putting photos of food on social media. The foodie culture should involve understanding where food comes from, how it nourishes our bodies, and respecting all those involved in the farm to table process.
To read the full blog, get a recipe for Jimaca Slaw and more from Amber Pankonin, visit http://stirlist.com/jicama-slaw-and-the-foodie-generation/.
Amber Pankonin is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's Digital Voices Council. To learn more about the program and bloggers who participate, click here.