MARCH 2015

CommonGround Starts Conversations at Commodity Classic

(Posted Tue. Mar 3rd, 2015)

Commodity Classic attendees wanting to find out more about CommonGround, a program supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates, enjoyed an hour of first-hand accounts and interactive learning during the Learning Center “Finding CommonGround.” With more than 125 people in attendance, CommonGround volunteers Sara Ross and Joan Ruskamp showed attendees how CommonGround, a grassroots movement of farm women who want to foster conversations between the women who grow and raise food and those who buy it.


Drawing upon the power of their personal experiences, Ross and Ruskamp explained how farm women across the country are sharing their experiences and helping consumers feel confident about American ag today. The volunteers shared insight into the program’s real, inclusive, positive and credible approach to conversations while showing the approach in action through anecdotes about their personal experiences. Both active in the program since its inception, Ross and Ruskamp offered valuable insight into the honest concerns of consumers who want the same thing as they do – to feed their family nutritious, healthy foods.


NCGA Past President Pam Johnson, who farms in Iowa, introduced the session and provided insight into the program. Praising the passion and dedication of its volunteers, she urged the audience to join in this important task.


“While I have served as a mentor to women in the program, I find that working with the volunteers benefits me tenfold in terms of the inspiration and energy that I gain from them,” said Johnson. “Over the past five years, they have had an incredibly positive impact on how the industry communicates and goes about speaking with consumers. Their passion drives us forward, and their honest, transparent approach builds bridges in a way we haven’t been able to before.”


Following a description of how volunteers approach conversations and a short look into the women’s work, attendees worked in groups and put the CommonGround approach to consumer conversations in action. Covering topics such as GMOs, family farms and the use of antibiotics in ranching, audience participants explored how they could put the approach into action to create constructive, positive conversations with consumers in their everyday lives.


CommonGround was founded by the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates to start a conversation about food between the women who grow it and the women who buy it. Now in its fifth year, CommonGround brings more than 130 of America’s farm women to the table for food discussions and helps consumers eat fearlessly.


To learn more about CommonGround, click here.