This week, CommonGround shared the story of American agriculture at the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Philadelphia. With 10,000 registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition science researchers, policymakers and health-care providers in attendance, CommonGround volunteers attracted enthusiastic attention and engaged in meaningful dialogue that helped this influential audience delve further into how America’s farmers grow and raise the healthy foods they recommend.
“FNCE provides a great venue for us to connect with people who directly impact the food choices of countless others,” said CommonGround volunteer Paula Linthicum, who farms in Laytonsville, Maryland. “The audience is receptive and appreciates the work that we do to provide a direct link to farming.
“I spoke with a dietitian from Kentucky who was skeptical about GMOs when we began chatting who left noting that she needed to look at the issue much more closely because our conversation made her realize that she had nothing to fear.”
The activity, organized by CommonGround Maryland with the support of the National Corn Growers Association, brought an authentic voice to issues of interest to both consumers and agriculture such as how the use of modern technologies and practices produces healthy, quality food options for our country and beyond.
“Attendees have the understanding of science and are just looking for the resources to share our story,” explained Laurie Adelhardt, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board Communications. “The attendees may not have a personal understanding of why we use the practices that we do but, working together, we can help consumers place their trust in American farmers and eat fearlessly.”
The CommonGround booth attracted attention as it featured Michele Payn, who signed copies of her soon-to-be-released book Food Bullying.
In addition to Linthicum and Adelhardt, CommonGround volunteers Linda Burrier, Jennie Schmidt and Kelly Vaughn participated in the event with NCGA Communications Director Cathryn Wojcicki also supporting.