Today, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance announced it will host The Food Dialogues, a series of town hall-style discussions taking place at four locations across the nation and online on Sept. 22. Max Armstrong of Farm Progress Companies, Claire Shipman of ABC's "Good Morning America," chef John Besh, and Jane Wells of CNBC will act as moderators at the different locations.
The Food Dialogues will include four panel discussions, featuring leaders in food, food service, media and policy, farmers of all types and business leaders, who will share different viewpoints about the current and future states of food, and how food is grown and raised. These topics, as well as findings from recent surveys of farmers, ranchers and consumers conducted by USFRA, will all be discussed during this interactive event.
"Americans want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised and if it is good for their health long-term," said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We realize farmers and ranchers haven't always done the best job answering Americans' questions about how food is grown and raised, and hope The Food Dialogues event will be the start of an ongoing dialogue that addresses these questions and more. We hope everyone who cares about the future of food and how we provide healthy choices for people everywhere will join the discussion, including farmers of all sizes – small and large, conventional and organic, consumers and food decision-makers."
These discussions will take place at four U.S. locations including Washington, D.C., New York, the Midwest and California, as well as online via Facebook and USFRA's new website www.fooddialogues.com.
The full list of panelists will be announced by USFRA prior to The Food Dialogues event. The panel discussion will initiate in Washington, D.C. at 11:30 a.m. EDT and will conclude with the final panel taking place in California. The entire event will stream live online from 11:30 a.m. EDT through 5:00 p.m. EDT, providing opportunities for farmers, ranchers and the general public to register to watch and participate in the discussion online.
"This event will allow anyone with an Internet connection the ability to join a conversation about food and where it comes from," said Stallman. "Consumers rightfully want to know that farmers and ranchers are treating animals well, maintaining food quality and safety and doing our jobs in ways that don't harm the environment. This is an opportunity to ask questions, challenge current thinking and truly engage in a real-time, two-way conversation taking place on www.fooddialogues.com and USFRA's Facebook page about food with farmers, ranchers and other major thought leaders in the food and agriculture industry."
New data from surveys USFRA conducted in July and August 2011 with farmers, ranchers and consumers will be featured during the discussions. The surveys were to identify topics the agricultural community wished Americans had more information about when it comes to how food is grown and raised.
For more information about USFRA and The Food Dialogues, visit www.fooddialogues.com. Farmers and ranchers interested in participating in The Food Dialogues online can register on USFRA's Facebook page.