Storytelling

If you’re involved in agriculture, chances are that in the last year you have been encouraged to “tell your story.”  Some troops have been rallied, storming the Twitterverse and Blogosphere, even Facebook, in an effort to tell their story.  And for the longest time I have wondered, “What is that story?”  What part of what you do is so important for people to know, and how do you get people to pay attention to what you’re saying? There’s so much to consider here, but long story short, I think what has developed is a great idea with good intentions yet with little understanding of how or what to do.  No strategy.

In recent weeks have read some great articles and had great conversations about all of this storytelling business, including what I think is a fantastic article about farmers developing a “martyr complex.”  Others have proposed the idea that “agvocating” can be “ag-gravating.”  I don’t know what to make of all this.  Yes, it is important for people to know what you do and why you do it.  It is one thing to answer questions and hopefully help dispel common misconceptions and it is quite another to tell everyone how great you are because you sacrificed your entire day to “make food.”  It’s your job.

All the while, I have been thinking of the movie Mother starring Debbie Reynolds and Albert Brooks.  I love this movie because the mother in the film reminds me in so many ways of my own grandmother (bless her heart, and yes I was a good grandson and called her yesterday), especially her tendency to “tell her story” to nearly every store clerk she’s ever met.  I remember countless visits to the store and long, usually one-sided conversations about what could probably be described as meaningless chatter.  Is that the sort of advocacy work we’re doing?  (Love you, Grandma.)  And, I apologize for the wind breaking in the video … it’s the only link I could find.

Please share your thoughts on this subject.

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