“Farmer’s Daughter” is a title I feel honored to have been blessed with. I’m a fourth generation farm kid from north central Nebraska. A family farm where corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and oats grow in the fields and cattle are raised. A place in the heartland where faith, family and friends mean something at the core of our beings. This is a defining place; it defines me in the values I’ve learned, the work ethic I’ve developed, and it’s where my passion for life, the environment and relationships was nurtured.
Now, a Registered Dietitian in Lincoln, NE and owner of Sage Nutrition, I have the opportunity to work with individuals and families who struggle in their relationship with food. This comes in the form of disordered eating patterns as structure around food is missing and misconceptions about food are widely spread. It comes in the form of eating disorders where individuals use food as a means of coping with a variety of struggles they face in their lives.
The very thing that I so admired witnessing go from seed to food is an enemy to individuals who struggle with eating disorders. The question I’m faced with as a professional is: how do we bridge the gap between food producers and consumers who have questions and concerns about where their food comes from? Consumers have valid questions and we, as producers and professionals in the nutrition community, are responsible for providing sound, evidence-based responses to them.
This week, CommonGround Nebraska invited me on an educational excursion to learn more about hot topics consumers are concerned about. Things like GMOs, organic food, antibiotics and modern production methods.
Zoetis, an industry that develops, researches and produces vaccines for many animals, is an incredible company committed to providing safe and effective means of protecting animals and humans. This company and the people who work there, are passionate about developing means of protecting animals from harmful diseases. They demonstrate care and professionalism in their work.
Monsanto, a leader in developing GMOs to feed a growing world, is another group committed to safe practices. As an industry, agriculturalists have a mission to feed the now billions of individuals around the globe. To do this with sustainable, renewable and environmentally-friendly methods is a challenge the industry has risen to. These folks have allowed us to eliminate a significant amount of chemical products previously utilized in crop production. They have allowed us to create new ways of producing enough food for our growing world while simultaneously caring for our land, water and air.
I would strongly encourage all people, whether you are a producer or consumer, to visit these companies. Conversation about these challenging issues are more important now than ever. If there’s a fear around food – where it comes from and how it’s produced – let’s talk about it! Registered Dietitians are one key resource to utilize to better understand these issues.
This week, that title of ” Farmer’s Daughter” developed a deeper meaning. The opportunity to educate people as a producer, consumer, and nutrition professional is unique and meaningful to me. I’m excited to be joining the mission of CommonGround with a desire to have conversations. For me, this will always be an ongoing conversation, and I look forward to sharing more next time!