NEW TOOLKIT INVITES DIRECT MARKETERS TO "MAKE THE CONNECTION"
PLAINVIEW, Neb. – Farmers who direct market their locally raised food and farm products need to connect with potential customers. Consumers want to connect with the folks raising their food. Now, a new toolkit released this month, will help bring farmers and customers together.
Sandy Patton, Royal, Neb., and Curt Arens, Crofton, Neb., directors of the Farm to Family Connection Project, have penned a 44-page booklet, with accompanying CD, offering innovative ideas to family farmers and direct marketing farm organizations about how to reach customers through radio programs and website development.
Their toolkit, "Making the Connection: A Toolkit for Starting a Radio and Web-based Local Food Campaign," was published by Northeast Nebraska Resource, Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, with assistance from a grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The toolkit tells the story of "Farm to Family Connection," a weekly radio program touting family farmers in northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota who direct market food and farm products. The show airs on Thursdays on KKYA, 93.1 FM and its sister station, KYNT, 1450 AM, headquartered in Yankton, SD.
"In today’s world of industrialized agriculture, where consumers of food are disconnected for the most part from the food they bring home for table fare," Patton and Arens write in the booklet’s introduction, "it has become increasingly difficult to tell the story of family farmers."
Since first airing in March 2004, "Farm to Family Connection" has run over 250 programs, highlighting the products and farm stories of hundreds of families and rural communities. A companion website, www.farmtofamily.net, lists a local food directory, as well as recipes, program transcripts and audio clips, and tips for farmers and consumers.
"We hope this booklet and accompanying CD provide technical assistance, and encourage others to replicate our local food efforts in other parts of the nation and beyond," write Patton and Arens.
The Farm to Family Connection Project has enhanced and expanded the radio and website aspects of their local food campaign. Project directors have also surveyed farmers and farmers market vendors, as well as health care professionals, gauging how effective such a radio and website campaign is in bringing about the locally raised food message in a positive and compelling way.
Results of surveys, practical tips for starting similar radio programs elsewhere and low cost advertising ideas for family farmers and direct marketers are available through the booklet and CD.
The introduction concludes, "If local food systems are to gain support, they need to keep up with the demand, and they need to promote their most important aspects, the talented and hardworking families involved in raising and marketing local food."
"Making the Connection: A Toolkit for Starting a Radio and Web-based Local Food Campaign" is available for $22.95 plus sales tax, shipping and handling from Northeast Nebraska RC&D, 702 E. Park Ave., Plainview, NE 68769 or call (402) 582-4866. Downloadable order forms are available at www.farmtofamily.net.
SURVEY SAYS: Farm to Family Connection Website Invites Visitors to Complete New Online Survey
PRESS RELEASE – Farm to Family Connection
Contact – Director, Sandy Patton
PLAINVIEW, Neb. – Where do you like to purchase your food? Farm to Family Connection wants to know if consumers are interested in locally raised food, so they are inviting everyone to answer questions online relating to the importance of food raised by local farmers.
The project, funded in part through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and administered through the Northeast Nebraska Resource, Conservation and Development Council headquartered here, is aimed at raising awareness among consumers in northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota about locally raised food available from family farmers in the vicinity.
Project director, Sandy Patton of Royal, Neb., says that a new consumer and farmer survey is available online at the project website – www.farmtofamily.net – for website guests to take. The entire survey initially asks visitors to indicate whether they consider themselves a consumer, a family farmer that direct markets products or a dietitian or nutrition specialist. From there, the survey takes guests through a series of questions, trying to gauge the effectiveness of the well-known Farm to Family Connection radio and web-based local food campaign. The survey will assist the Farm to Family Connection team in evaluating their project effectiveness, as well as ways to improve their local food website and campaign.
Farm to Family Connection hit the airwaves on Thursdays on KKYA, 93.1 FM radio in Yankton, SD nearly four years ago, touting the benefits of purchasing locally raised food and farm products from area family farmers and local businesses and processors. The show has featured hundreds of farmers and communities over the years, and has recently expanded to airtime on a sister station, KYNT, 1450 AM.
The campaign has worked to identify if the radio program and website have worked at getting a positive message about locally raised food out to area consumers. The survey on the website is another step at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of such a campaign.
Anyone is welcome to take the online survey. It takes around five to ten minutes to navigate. The survey was developed by Joseph Nitzke, director of the Social Sciences Research Center at Wayne State College at Wayne, Neb.
Newsrelease: September 2008
Nourishing Eaters and the Earth Workshop:
Dietitians Cultivating Sustainable Food Systems
Farm to Family Connection, a project of the Northeast Nebraska RC&D in Plainview, NE, is holding its second dietitian workshop Thursday, October 2, 2008, from 4:30-7:00 p.m. at Siouxland District Health Department, 1014 Nebraska Street, Sioux City, Iowa. CEU for 2 credits for dietitians will be from 4:45-6:45. Featured speaker will be Angie Tagtow, owner of Environmental Nutrition Solutions. Angie is also a WK Kellogg Food & Society Policy Fellow and managing editor of the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition.
Click HERE for more information
Feb. 1, 2008
"Farm to Family Connection" radio project tunes in to agriculture
by Marie Martin
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
CROFTON, Neb. - In a rare opportunity, farming families are increasing awareness in the listening area of KK93 FM radio in Yankton, SD about the diversity of agriculture.
Their "Farm to Family Connection” radio program, originally funded, in part, by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) in 2004, has been sharing with listeners the family farm stories of locally raised food and farm products available within driving distance.
Using contacts already established through the advertising program at KK93, Curt Arens (Crofton, NE ), received help early on from from Gary Cwach (Yankton, SD), and Kenard, Chris, and Steve Kreycik (Niobrara, NE).
They sought out program guests and new prospective business sponsors to support the show so that it could be aired during prime commuter times for people traveling in Yankton and surrounding areas.
Arens recalls the first time they broadcasted the program: “The first time I sat down to the microphone, my hands were shaking and my voice was crackling. Over time, fortunately, this plain dirt farmer became a little better at the nervousness part of it, primarily due to the patience and friendliness of the radio station staff.”
“You have to understand, that it is rare, very rare, that a radio station would take on such a local and targeted project as this one. So when we walked into KK93, we found a gem. The folks there have been awesome.”
Arens was selective about sponsors. In deference to the organic farmers featured on the show they avoided seed and chemical companies that only wanted to promote those products or GMO seed.
Farmer participation on the radio show was vital to the success of the programming, but has been a challenge for the team. “Finding farmers is somewhat difficult because we like to feature farmers who don't have a big operating budget for advertising and need help getting the word out. That's why we keep their portion low at $60,” explained Arens.
The team received an indication from general surveys that have been turned in from farmer participants on the radio show that sales for them have increased around 5 to 20 percent because of their radio show.
“This tells us that farmers should not expect a big response from being on the show once in a year,” explained Arens, “but if they work to develop a promotion that we can use seasonally, maybe four times a year, the results definitely have paid off the very minimal $60 fee to be involved.”
Although the program has been funded by a W. K. Kellogg Foundation grant since the original SARE grant ended, the group appreciated the footings SARE provided. “We believe that the SARE program is a wonderful way to fund ‘real’ farmers and their ideas in a variety of areas,” said Arens.
Tune in to Farm to Family Connection Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. and Thursday afternoons at 4 p.m. on KKYA, 93.1 FM, Yankton, SD, or visit their web page http://www.farmtofamily.net. Yankton area writer and publisher, Loretta Sorensen, is the new voice of “Farm to Family Connection,” while Arens maintains the web site.
Arens’ continued commitment to sustainable agriculture has always been the heart of the project.
“We promote the little guy, the farmer with the big idea, but with a small advertising budget. We promote local economic development, by encouraging people to purchase food without frequent flier miles - the stuff raised with care by your neighbors down the road - the folks you know and trust. That is true food security, because if you know your farmer, then you know your food.”
Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.
For more information contact: Marie Martin
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, Yankton, SD – Published Sept. 2, 2007
A food tour for dieticians and nutritionists at Mission Hill will try to make the connection between consumers and producers on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Garrity's Prairie Garden.
Sandy Patton, economic development director for Antelope County out of Neligh, Neb., organized the workshop along with Curt Arens of Crofton and the Farm to Family Connection, a weekly radio program that features local food producers. The food tour also received grant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
"It's all about education," said Patton. "Everyone could learn something about local foods and its area producers at Tuesday's meeting."
Details for the food tour were released to area hospitals and also state food organizations. It involves food producers from a three state area - Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa.
"Buying and preparing locally grown foods helps in so many ways," said Patton. "It helps the economy. It hasn't traveled clear across the county and it's close to home. It may be a next-door neighbor."
Pat Garrity of the Sioux City Farmers Market will talk about distribution and availability of local foods. Also speaking will be Jim Knopik of the Nebraska Food Coop System. John and Janna Wasselius of an Iowan CSA (community supported agriculture) will talk about their secrets to success.
Dale and Rena Hebda will talk about Garrity's Prairie Garden. Locally raised beef producer Marvin DeBlauw, Grade A dairyman Dean Burbach of Burbach's Countryside Dairy and Patti Bancroft, local producer of produce and herbs, will talk about the healthy benefits of locally raised products.
During the noon hour, Chef Marlin Simpson of Fiona's Firehouse Bistro in Sioux City will prepare a meal prepared with locally raised foods. He will also speak on cooking with local foods.
"If we keep reminding the consumer, may be it will eventually become the thing to do," Patton said. In her position as director, she is always looking for ways to promote economic development and support small family farms.
For more information, Patton can be reached at (402) 842-2555. The registration fee is $15 and participants can still register the morning of the food tour.
Loretta Sorensen, Yankton, SD, the new voice of Farm to Family Connection
More About Loretta
YANKTON – There will be a new voice narrating the popular weekly radio show, Farm to Family Connection, that informs and promotes locally raised food, farm products and local events and the family farmers and small businesses of our region.
On Monday, Yankton publisher, author and well-known journalist, Loretta Sorensen was announced as the show's new voice. Loretta takes over the voicing duties from Crofton farmer, Curt Arens, who has narrated Farm to Family Connection since its inception.
The show, airing on KK93, 93.1 FM, over the past three years, first aired in March 2004. Since that time, they have produced 160 shows, featuring over 100 farmers and ranchers, local businesses and rural communities. It airs on Thursdays at 7:45 am and 5:45 pm and is touted as the "show about local food that is locally produced". A companion website – www.farmtofamily.net – supplies listeners with audio clips, program transcripts, a local food directory and wellness features.
"I am looking forward to being part of this effort to showcase local farmers and ranchers as well as local businesses ", said Sorensen about her new post. " I've always lived in southeast South Dakota and through my writing activities I've learned a great deal about the people and businesses in the region, but there's always more to see and learn."
Sorensen, who publishes the non-denominational Christian magazine, "Spirit of the Plains," also helps local authors to self-publish their work and is involved in a variety of other printing and publishing activities.
"We are excited to have an experienced journalist like Loretta take over the voicing duties for the show," said Arens. "Loretta brings a wealth of agricultural knowledge to the show and she is well respected among farmers and local consumers."
Arens will still be involved in the writing of the show and will continue to write and enhance the companion website.
Farm to Family Connection is unique in that it features local farm families and rural businesses, with many of the feature stories about family operations that direct market their food and farm products to local consumers.
With the growth of the "locally raised" and organic food markets in recent years, it has become a cutting edge program in many ways, offering consumers a chance to learn more about the families that supply their meals.
The show and website are a part of a W.K. Kellogg grant being administered by the Northeast Nebraska RC&D at Plainview, that is studying the project, hoping to find ways to replicate its success in other parts of the country. Project director, Sandy Patton of Brunswick, Neb. is working with Arens at surveying local farmers who have participated in the show, gauging its success in driving sales and impacting their businesses and their direct relationship marketing.
The show is also quite popular with local consumers who are able to learn about how food is produced in the area and the variety of food sources that are grown within our own region.
Sorensen's first show is about Pierce Lockers in Pierce, Neb. and airs this Thursday, Apr. 5 on KK93.
Released Aug. 5, 2006 to newspapers and media in Nebraska, SE South Dakota and NW Iowa
PLAINVIEW, Neb. – If you know the farmer who raises your food, then you know your food. Northeast Nebraska RC&D of Plainview, representing six counties in the region, has initiated a new project called Farm to Family Connection that will promote locally raised food and farm products to consumers and institutions and study innovative ways of raising awareness of food grown in the area.
"The goal of the project is to bring the farmer and consumer together and create a working relationship that will benefit both," said project director, Sandy Patton. "The program will serve to educate the consumer and institutions and to motivate them to purchase more local food and farm products."
According to Patton, Farm to Family Connection will utilize an existing weekly radio show airing Thursdays on KKYA radio, 93.1 FM based in Yankton, SD, as a springboard to promote the local food message. Farms and rural businesses that have been featured on Farm to Family Connection radio over the past two years will be surveyed along with some of their customers to analyze if the message is getting to consumers. The project will expand an existing web-based campaign and create a toolkit that can be utilized by other farm groups, radio stations and family farm and direct marketing advocacy organizations across the country to develop their own radio and web-based local food campaigns.
"When we buy and eat local foods, we know what we’re getting and where it came from," Patton said. "The farmer that grew the meat on our dinner table, the tomatoes in our salad, or the honey on our toast, lives in our area."
This project will work with a number of organizations around northeast Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa in promoting local food not only directly to consumers, but also to institutions like hospitals, schools, nursing homes and local restaurants. Patton said, "Family farmers are the heart of our rural communities. Connecting the farm to the consumer and institution is a way of keeping our rural communities alive."
"We will be looking at new ways for farmers who are direct marketing locally raised food and products to reach out to consumers in our own region," says Crofton area farmer, Curt Arens, who is assisting Patton on the project. "Study after study shows that if they are given a choice, folks will always select fresh produce and food grown by local family farmers down the road who they know and trust."
The two-year project is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.
To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism.
The Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) is a partnership between USDA and our local non-profit organization that serves the six counties of Antelope, Cedar, Dixon, Knox, Pierce and Wayne in Northeast Nebraska.
The group’s purpose is connecting people and their communities to resources, helping plan and carry out activities that support economic development, increase conservation of natural resources, and enhance the quality of life. The local Farm to Family Connection project began Aug. 1 and will run through July, 2008.
By: LORETTA SORENSEN
Area farmers and small businesses have been taking advantage of a new marketing tool, "Farm to Family," a radio show that was developed a couple of years ago by Crofton farmer and journalist Curt Arens.
The idea for the show came out of Arens' appointment as a Food and Society Policy Fellow in 2003. The program is designed to educate consumers, opinion leaders and policymakers on the challenges associated with sustaining environmentally sound family farms and food systems that promote health and locally owned business.
The 2 1/2-minute show began in 2004 and is now broadcast weekly on Yankton's KKYA 93.1 at 7:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. It was purposely designed, Arens said, with a story format so that the people behind the products could be introduced to consumers.
"Because the structure of agriculture is changing so rapidly and we're losing a lot of family-size farms, I thought it would be good to tell the story of some of these folks who are direct marketing their products," Arens said. "When consumers get to know who's behind the product they're using they're more likely to want to support that product and make it possible for that farmer to continue to sell their product."
Arens said the support of sponsors and KYNT radio station, as well as the interest of farmers and businesses, has made it possible to develop and air the program.
"It's not a live interview format," Arens said. "I visit with the farmer or business person and obtain the information about their product and operation. Then I write the copy and narrate the broadcast for the show. Each one is a little different because each person has a different story to tell."
Because of his own farming and direct marketing background, Arens has a thorough understanding of the hurdles that face farmers and small business when they want to distribute information about a product or service. Small budgets and lack of experience, he said, are just the first challenges that entrepreneurs will encounter.
"I live on a family farm," Arens said. "I want to see my kids have a future here if that's what they want. Obviously I know that my neighbors and others in the area feel the same way. Developing this radio show seemed to be one tool people could use to reach consumers."
The businesses featured on "Farm to Family" come from a geographic area that stretches south Norfolk, west to Atkinson, east to Sioux City and north to Sioux Falls. Every farmer or business featured on "Farm to Family" pays a fee to make use of the program. Products and services featured on the show range from hormone-free beef to agri-tourism. Annual and special events are also featured on the program.
Gary Cwach of Yankton, who raises natural beef without implants or antibiotics, said he was very pleased with the results of being featured on the show.
"It's a great way to introduce the public to smaller family farms," Cwach said. "Curt has a way of bringing a new twist to everybody's story so that each program is interesting."
Both Arens and Cwach said they are seeing a growing interest in and demand for natural foods. Consumers, they said, are becoming more aware of the quality of the food they eat.
"If you go into the local grocery store you'll see more and more shelf space being devoted to health foods," Cwach said. "The Whole Foods stores want to build 58 stores over the next four years. That's phenomenal growth. Over the last six or seven years we've beat the idea of health food to death and it seemed like it wasn't catching on. But things are starting to change now and we want to go the final leg with this."
A complete archive of "Farm to Family's" radio programs, both the script and audio version, is available at www.farmtofamily.net. The contact and product information for each family and business featured on the show is also available on the Web site.
The Kellogg Foundation just informed Arens that they have designated grant money for conducting a survey regarding the effectiveness of the show. Arens and Sandy Patton, the show's director, will conduct the survey in the near future to gather information about the results of the show. They are also developing some guideliness and a tool kit for other communities and radio stations to share how they developed the program and what they've learned in the process.
"It's an idea that's really blossomed and expanded because of the large variety of products and services that are available," Arens said. "It's also worked well because of all the partnerships, people that came together to make it possible."
Every Thursday at 7:45 am and 5:45 pm, Curt Arens of Crofton, Neb., gets three minutes of radio airtime to talk about something he loves: farming and promoting healthy food products grown in this area.
"We hope to heighten awareness to area residents about the nutritional value of locally raised food products," explains Arens. "Our radio show, Farm-to-Family Connection, hopes to help people make healthy choices by eating right and buying food fresh from the family farm down the road."
And that focus works well with Avera Sacred Heart’s mission, said Betsy Midthun, Director of Public Relations and Marketing. "We feel ‘Farm to Family’ is a perfect partnership because of Curt’s broad scope of knowledge of the region and his focus on wellness and healthy living."
Arens farms a 600-acre, fourth generation farm 15 miles southwest of Yankton and has dedicated much of his time in recent years to understanding and endorsing sustainable agriculture in northeast Nebraska. His weekly radio show, "Farm to Family Connection", is on Yankton radio station KKYA.
"I want to reach consumers and let them know just how many valuable products are grown right here in our own communities and sold by family farmers we know and trust directly to area consumers," Arens said. "Because if you know your farmer, you know your food."
His focus on healthy eating choices also interests Avera Sacred Heart’s Director of Nutrition Services, Carla Scott Schmidt. "In an age when staying healthy and fit has become the buzzword among the young, middle-aged and old alike, a partnership between Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and the Farm-to-Family Show seems logical."
Scott Schmidt explained that for the past two years, Hy-Vee Yankton and Avera Sacred Heart Hospital have partnered together to educate consumers on the Whole Foods Approach to better nutrition. "We share the expertise of Doralynne Jarvis, a registered dietitian, who has taken nutrition education from beyond the patient bedside and into the grocery store and encourages healthy eating with demos, classes, grocery shopping tours, and cooking classes."
"Whole foods" brings us back to those farm fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats, milk, and whole grains," further explains Scott Schmidt. "Where better to learn about nutrition than in the grocery store or on the farm?"
A companion Web site, www.farmtofamily.net, offers transcripts of the shows, audio clips and a directory of local farmers and families producing farm fresh food and products. Arens believes that consumers want to know the story behind their food -- to not only ensure that what they put into their mouths is safe and wholesome, but also to support their local economies.
"The ‘Farm-to-Family Connection’ is a great example of how people can make the right nutritional choices through education," said Midthun. "And that is a huge focus for Avera Sacred Heart Hospital – providing useful community health education for people of all ages in our region."
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, SD manages the regional medical center, hospital and wellness center, Majestic Bluff Assisted Living and Sister James Nursing Home in Yankton as well as rural health care clinics in Hartington and Crofton, Nebraska and other rural communities around Nebraska and South Dakota.
Avera not only supports the Farm to Family Connection Radio program, but also recently signed on to support the show's companion website - www.farmtofamily.net.
NORFOLK, Neb. -- The tide is slowly turning.
While consumers still love convenience and inexpensive food, many are beginning to ask something more than producer anonymity in the steaks, asparagus and eggs they pick up at the grocery store. They want to know the story behind their food -- to not only ensure that what they put into their mouths is safe and wholesome, but also to support their local economies.
This situation provides an opportunity for small family farmers to earn a few more dollars over the elevator or sale barn price. However, without guidance, few farmers are willing to tackle the risks of breaking out of conventional agriculture.
"Farmers, we're all good at producing something. It doesn't matter what it is -- we can find out how to produce it," said Curt Arens, a Crofton, Neb.-farmer who spoke at the recent Center for Rural Affairs Annual Gathering in Norfolk, Neb., about ways rural communities can help their farmers and ranchers connect with consumers. "But, if you ask me to take that thing I produced to the neighbor and sell it, I'd rather have a double root canal. It's like pulling hair."
Every Thursday morning at 7:45, Curt Arens of Crofton, Neb., gets three minutes of radio airtime to talk about something he loves: farming and small business products in and around his neighborhood.
A farmer himself on a 600-acre, fourth generation farm 15 miles southwest of Yankton, Arens has dedicated much of his time in recent years to understanding and endorsing sustainable agriculture in northeast Nebraska. His weekly radio show, "Farm to Family Connection", is on Yankton station KKYA.
"I want to reach consumers and let them know just how many valuable products are available right in their own area," Arens said.
"When I brought the idea to Laurie Larsen...in March, she really did the work to put the nuts and bolts of the show together."
Larsen, a sales representative for the station, said she liked Arens' idea immediately.
"I got excited about the idea because I know how many people direct market their products," she said. " We had a few bumps to smooth out when we first started, but it's all gone very well."
The show is sponsored by businesses and a USDA SARE grant. Arens is also working with a Food and Society Policy Fellowship through W.K.Kellogg Foundation, allowing him time to work on the show, as well as write opinion pieces, arranging media interviews and talking to classes and other interested groups.
A companion Web site, www.farmtofamily.net, offers transcripts of the shows, audio clips and a directory of local farmers and families producing food and products for local consumers.
Dave Lee, a radio talk show personality and production manager for the show, said he enjoys producing a quality local broadcast.
"Let's just say it makes us smile," Lee said. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone come up with an idea for a show that they were willing to research and take an active part in. It's a natural fit for this area and for the station. We're always pleased to have a local connection."
Producers and skilled craftspeople featured on the show since March have come from the station's 150-mile broadcast radius. Recent shows featured residents of Bristow and Atkinson, Neb., on the fringe of the station's broadcast area.
Interest in the show, however, goes well beyond that geographic range.
"We're getting some e-mails from people outside the area wo want to be featured on the show," Larsen said.
"The farmers and businesses that we highlight pay to be on the air, and most of them don't have much of an advertising budget. But interest in the show, both from businesses and listeners, is growing."
Arens said he gets inquiries about the topic and content of upcoming shows and is pleased with the response so far.
Consumers are interested in buying products locally, Arens said, and bringing producers and their markets together is a worthwhile effort.
"The whole message is that almost everything we really need in life is grown or produced right here," he said. "These are real people doing something on the land, supporting their local community. It's hard to find a negative in that."