So often when I talk to other farmers about the need to share the agriculture story with those who are not from a farming background, the farmer will say something like, 'Yeah, it needs to be done, but I'll leave that to the younger generation.' Well, here's a group from the Millennial Generation who's doing just that.
I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul (ILF) is a way for young people to link together to start conversations with their peers about American agriculture. It's geared towards 14-24 year olds. Their mission is to, "Celebrate the choice we have in the marketplace for our food and those who produce it."
According to their Executive Director, J. Scott Vernon, ILF engages young people in conversations about American family farmers and ranchers by carrying a message that is targeted to urban youth who have little to no understanding of how their food is produced.
ILF members serve as ag advocates in several ways such as writing blogs, assisting at events, and being active on social media. They lay out six areas of focus which center around creating dialog with their peers and others who may not be aware of the impact that agriculture has on America.
Vernon shares that they believe that, "if young people do not engage in these conversations, (the agriculture) industry will fall further and further behind in the public's perception."
He emphasizes that ILF if not a club or school group. Indeed, it is a volunteer movement among young people to be part of a great dialogue about agriculture.
They also sell trendy t-shirts, bumper stickers, and hats that appeal to a younger crowd. The proceeds help fund their activities. Vernon says, they are, "Positioned to be bold, creative and different from other agvocacy efforts. Urban youth have lots of people seeking their attention. If we are to be successful, we too must grab their attention before we can have constructive conversations."
If your youngster has been looking for a way to be part of the agvocacy effort, forming an I Love Farmers Catalyst Group in your area might be a great way for them to be involved.