In May I had the awesome opportunity to travel to California and Missouri. On the way home I had a layover in the Phoenix International Airport (one of the ten busiest in the U.S. might I add). I walked briskly off the plane determined to find something delicious before flying back home and it was about a twenty five minute walk to get to my correct terminal. This is pretty normal for most airports that don’t offer a skyrail like DFW. But for nearly a half hour my sole purpose was to eat. I’m not ashamed of this – I plan my life around eating. I love food and it is a priority. I was feeling pretty schnazzy in my business dress from a conference earlier that day (it was even knee length might I add) though I was constantly grappling with balancing my backpack and camera bag. Long story short I started feeling a draft after a few minutes and ignored it. Before I knew what happened I had flashed the entire airport. My dress had ridden up and some of the 100,000 people who spend time in the Phoenix International Airport each day had seen my cute pair of underwear.
How many readers have heard of the ‘ag-colored glasses’ phenomenon? It’s actually a real thing. I thought I was an exception since I wasn’t raised in production agriculture. Guess not. I know what you’re thinking – “I wouldn’t be caught dead in those bright glittered glasses plastered with animal stickers sitting atop my forehead for everyone to see”. The truth is you probably have been. I know now that even though I had no earthly inclination of ever sporting them that recently I’ve been wearing them twenty four hours a day seven days a week.
Want to know how I can tell?
I know that sometimes we are all guilty of assuming. Many of you probably know the old saying about why you shouldn’t assume. I won’t enlighten you here but lets just say it includes an alternate name for donkey paired with a a play on words and it has a really valid point on top of being incredibly clever. As of lately I’m realizing that sometimes I can be especially guilty of this. Every time you make an individual assumption about a person, have you ever once thought that you were judging them? I know it sounds bad. But truly, anytime you make an assumption about someone’s level of agricultural knowledge based upon something as simple as their appearance, the inflection of their voice when they speak about food anxieties or their buying habits – you are judging them.
I assumed that all of my Facebook friends – all 621 of them were up to date on the latest agricultural challenges and misinformation that was circulating because of the sheer volume of pro-ag status’s I shared. I mean literally how many of you have typed a status (or thought about typing a status) that reads “I don’t know why my friends on facebook share such untrue stories about agriculture when they know they’re my friend”. Come on – you know on the harder days sometimes your fingers have inched to type that phrase into the status box. You’ve seen someone share this status that you’re friends with. Don’t lie to me. I assumed that those especially close with me (friends and family) shared the frustration and opinions I felt about agriculture’s future, and, present debates. I used to actually become a little off-put when this wasn’t the case. Again, because I spout ag facts like word vomit many days so obviously some of what I’ve shared probably soaked in right?
Wrong. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by a community of poised and knowledgeable advocates for the agriculture community. Consuming media that constantly reinforces our thoughts and beliefs feels right and helps us stay motivated that many share the common goal to become more accurate resources for where food comes from for others.
But wearing your ‘ag colored glasses’ all the time is like if Regina George from Mean Girls walked around flaunting her cut up shirt with no knowledge of it to the entire school or flashing the Phoenix International Airport. Frankly, it’s awkward and uncomfortable for everyone around.
I think Cady Heron’s spring fling acceptance speech says it all when we realize we’ve been wearing our glasses out a little too often – as she reminds us “[They’re] just plastic”. We should share content from the ag-colored glasses we so proudly wear sometimes – but small pieces are best with the recognition that everyone who shows interest deserves some if they want it. Consumers want to know that their food is safe, wholesome and nutritious and if they ask I encourage you to share your story. But it’s not their job to know every reason why – every fact and figure. It’s our job in the agricultural community to know more of the specifics and connect through empathy instead of an aggressive showdown of whose glasses are the flashiest.
I feel many agricultural advocates struggle with many of the same challenges and this is why I decided to share. I do not know if anyone else will relate to this but if it can help alter one person’s perspective then it was worth the write.
Thanks for Reading!
Photo edited from: http://www.zazzle.com/cow_party_glasses_aviator_sunglasses-256251937466955258