Combine, heifer, silage, and cash crops. These are all everyday farming terms that most producers are quite familiar with, but believe it or not are words that most city folk have never heard before. Farmers have a very bad habit of forgetting how much they know that is not common to those of us off the farm, so much so our pre film package for “Before The Plate” even gives them a friendly reminder to steer clear of words like this and give a full explanation.
Throughout my travels speaking to farmers and becoming involved in the media side of farming, this seems to be a large sticking point, which as an industry we have a hard time getting over. Most of the conversations we have as the industry with the urban consumer attempts to bring them into our world. This is a relatively uncomfortable place as the public understands very little of what we are trying to say to them, and they have a hard time relating on any level. It is time we stop talking about farming and start talking about food.
The average person wants to know that what they are eating is safe, healthy, and affordable. They recognize food as something on their plate and not a yield number in the field. This means that all of our hard work to speak to them with industry lingo and ways of thinking are unfortunately lost in translation. This is such a crucial piece of the puzzle to helping consumers better interpret the knowledge they are looking for! Unfortunately they are having a much easier time relating to “farm to table” marketing tactics simply because the table peice of the equation is included in the conversation.
“Before The Plate” is not a farming movie but rather a food movie that includes farming as a critical aspect of that. From the beginning of the project, it was so important to us that we make a film that is related to food and cooking that we partnered up with one of Canada’s (where “Before The Plate” is based) finest restaurants to be a part of the story. Canoe, one of Oliver & Bonacini’s flagship restaurants, will be featured as one of the key elements of the film as we follow Chef John Horne in his kitchen and preparing the highest quality food for his guests. The journey will start with a plate of food at Canoe and follow all the ingredients back to the farms from which those ingredients came. They idea is to show that some of the most high quality ingredients come from large scale operations and bring the element of “prestige” to modern agriculture. This will be a key piece of the puzzle in taking the conversation to the consumer and riding the celebrity chef wave in order to engage with them where it matters most: at the dinner table.