Faces of Michigan farmers front and center in grocery stores
In an effort to connect consumers to Michigan farmers, Michigan State University Extension teamed up with Neiman’s Family Market to provide shoppers with a glimpse of a few farmers behind the food.
Michigan State University Extension has teamed up with Neiman’s Family Market to provide shoppers with a glimpse of the farmers behind the food. The effort, which began in one northeast Michigan store during June Dairy Month, has expanded over the summer to four stores down the state’s eastern coast (Alpena, Tawas, St. Clair and Clarkston). Using photos provided by farm families, simple posters were created using PowerPoint and then printed on foam core board by local printers. The posters are 18 inches wide and 24 inches long, lightweight and easy to display in the stores.
The photos are not fancy. They simply show the farmer or the farm family doing what they do every day. The posters are intended to help remind consumers that there is a farmer behind the food that they just added to their cart. This subtle reminder may help build consumers’ confidence in today’s farmers and in the safety and quality of food they produce.
Why is this important?
- The general public is three to four generations removed from the farm
- Only 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved with production agriculture
- Many consumers do not know that over 90 percent of farms in the United states are owned by a family, individual or partnership
- Consumers want transparency
- Consumers and farmers care about the same things—food safety, animal health and the environment
According to Shawn Adams, dairy department manager at Neiman’s Family Market in Alpena, the farmer posters have generated a lot of conversation and positive feedback. “Whether the shopper recognizes the featured families or not, the posters really get a lot of attention” says Adams. “They (the posters) were intended to come down after June Dairy Month; however the store decided to keep them on display and work with MSU Extension to expand the education and promotion effort to other commodities and in three additional stores.”
This initiative helps put a face on farming and it is one small step towards reconnecting consumers to modern food production. For more information on this effort, please contact me, MSU Extension agriculture literacy educator at (989)354-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.