How do we honor the harvest in the 21st century? Recognize that it’s about all of us. Contagious collaboration required. - Food Dialogues

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Blog

Who we are, how we work, and why we love what we do.

How do we honor the harvest in the 21st century? Recognize that it’s about all of us. Contagious collaboration required.

Not in a conference room. On a farm, in a barn, finding solutions.

Download the full press release here: USFRA 6.27.19 Release FINAL

ST. LOUIS, Mo., (June 28, 2019) – Honoring the harvest is the greatest opportunity of our lifetime. It’s about living our legacy as Americans. It’s embedded in the fabric of our culture, music and prose. We talk about the land of milk and honey, the bread basket, the amber waves of grain, blessed and bountiful. We cherish the very notion of what it means to honor the harvest. As a culture, we have Thanksgiving, an entire holiday dedicated to honoring the harvest. Throughout our history, farmers and food makers have come together at our most challenging times and ignited change that transformed our nation.

Increasingly our harvest—yes, and it belongs to each one of us—is at grave risk. That is why we at the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in partnership with the Aspen Institute hosted the first Honor the Harvest Forum earlier this month at Bunker Hill Farms in Newburg, Maryland, with our host and owner of the farm, USFRA Chairman Chip Bowling. The Forum is designed to create opportunities for system wide collaboration, bringing together the brightest minds in agriculture, science and technology and the entire food value chain to create system-wide initiatives that will serve as a foundation for future food, environmental, and economic security.

The farmers at the Forum talked about how they’ve experienced and battled the effects of nature, hurricanes, and a brand-new phenomenon: sprinter—a crazy combination of winter and spring that resulted in relentless rains and flooding that prevented some from making it to forum. As if that wasn’t enough, a tornado on the Sunday before the forum presented another farmer challenges to attend. Mother Nature doesn’t wait, and neither do the realities on the ground for farmers.

So—bottom line—we have to figure out what it means to honor the harvest in the 21st century.

We chose our guests at the Forum thoughtfully, from farmers to food companies to food processors to retailers and investors. We gave them an opportunity to leave their conference rooms and find solutions right on the land. And boy, did they bring inspiration!

Our future depends on that contagious collaboration between the food and agriculture value chain. There’s nothing more important right now than our commitment to plant the future for the next generation.

There is no other sector that can solve for climate change like our plants, animals and soils. Yep, you heard me right: brown and green stuff is cool. It is the only proven sector that is able to suck carbon out of the air to provide for ecosystem services, pollinators, and nourishment for our communities. This grand challenge requires every farmer, every acre, and every collaborator to lead the change.

We are not stopping until we can get all of food and agriculture to work together. Participants drafted a bold vision and created eight projects. We planted the future, but now the hard work begins of cultivation and harvest. We’re calling on all change agents willing to help. We need volunteers, resources and collaborative partnerships. In a few weeks we will continue to update all of you!

What do you personally do to honor the harvest? How might we inspire more collaboration between food makers, innovators and farmers? How might we co-create the food systems of the future to make sure we truly honor the harvest in the 21st century? They say anyone is a leader who is willing to step up and out, what is your next move to help us honor the harvest and plant the future. #honortheharvest #climatechange #food #farming #sustainability

Erin Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Farmers &Ranchers Alliance

Download the full press release here: USFRA 6.27.19 Release FINAL