In a study of the attitude of Millennials to how their food is produced, Eve Turow Paul, describes farmers “as the new heroes” for Millennials who want to know more about how and who is growing and supplying their food. There are 80 million Millennials in the United States alone and Ms. Turow Paul argues they are increasingly setting the trend in food choices such as spending a large proportion of their income on food.
“Those who grow our food are the true change-agents,” says Eve Turow Paul. “Farmers make innumerable choices every day that can have beneficial or grave effects on the health of soil, water, air and physical well-being. As such, consumers are increasingly putting their money where their values are —toward brands and products they trust, and that support farmers who use methods comfort the shopper”.
For Millennials, their attitude to sustainability is to try and do “what’s right”: Leave a planet behind that is habitable for our children, with clean air, soil and water; Eat foods that nourish us and our children, not foods that make us a part of the rising rates of obesity and diabetes; Use what we need and properly distribute of what we don’t to create comfortable, hunger-free lives for as many people as possible, she adds.
“For farmers, this poses a challenge and an opportunity. People want to feel as though they’re making the right decisions—farmers can help them with their choice. This makes it imperative for farmers to tell their stories appropriately. It’s also important to get people back on the land, for a personal experience. Seeing and learning first-hand about life on a farm is an experience that is undeniable. By exposing people to personal stories, the opportunity to see the soil, taste the harvest and witness the process, consumers can become even stronger advocates for the farmers they know and the methods they understand.
“It’s also through these personal experiences and greater education that common public misconceptions can be put to rest. Organic farming is not inherently sustainable and big, commodity crop farms are not inherently unsustainable. The nuances of farming can only come to light with a greater understanding of the complexities of agriculture”.
Eve Turow Paul, herself a Millennial and author (see Generation Yum), and nationally known writer on Millennials, she points out that the topic of sustainability is not a fad that will fade with time, but “a belief and weight that we carry with us. It’s a value system being passed down to our children. And it is a movement that those in the agriculture community can and should lead, to help us sow a sustainable future, today”.