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How not to qualify – top 10 social media worst practices

March 11, 2010

The blessings of working with a wholesome food grower near an urban foodie mecca at head of the sustainable agriculture movement are abundant, and at the moment there are more opportunities than we can keep up with. New and amazing opportunities show up almost daily: CNN just stopped by to interview Alexis for their Rebuilding America series. Carole Morison, the whistle-blower in Food, Inc. who took on an industrial chicken farming Goliath, is coming to the Bay Area for a tour of talks, tours, and panels organized by the farm. Alexis started cooking classes at the farm. She’s giving tours. She talked to urban farmers and homesteaders about raising backyard chickens. She released a new product. Will help teach butchering workshops. And so on. . . So many opportunities, so much content.

So much beyond content to be done to build community. But when it comes to what is in place so far for content:

To date, we’ve established Facebook and assembled 291 fans. Our Twitter feed has earned 126 followers. (One direct lead to a new account for Soul Food Farm!) I’ve attempted some discussions on FB with limited success so far, but I know there’s a sweet spot for that and we’ll get there. Twitter lists, recently started, should increase visibility. We’ve done a press release for the availability of confit, which appeared in blogs and will appear in San Francisco Magazine in May. With all that’s going on, it feels like we should have more in place. But establishing the right social media requires assessing what’s working; what’s not. It’s still a little early, but we’re planning more press releases, reciprocal blog commenting, Twitter lists, a YouTube channel (we’ll cover Alexis’  talks on raising chickens, one on how to cut up the chicken), and a newsletter to drive traffic, offer resources, and build the farm’s email database.  Keeping in mind that Alexis’ priority is to increase CSA membership specifically and business in general, we’re in the process of assessing how we’re doing so far. Recently, Brian passed on this Slideshare presentation, and happily, we’re doing well enough to not qualify for the top 10 of these:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 9:34 am

    Although I do not approve of Food Inc., I do approve of anyone who wants to raise their own food. The return to the land that many are seeking is a great way to live. My family never left the land and are proud to be some of the small farmers that are the backbone of American agriculture.
    The problem is that we need more than local food production to feed the world. Very few are blessed with all of the advantages we have here in the U.S. For those who can afford it, local food is great. For those who cannot, we need to keep the current system going. It’s the only way some of the less blessed can afford to eat. We need, and I hope we can keep, both the small and the large farm.

  2. March 12, 2010 11:00 am

    Michael, your point is an important one, and one I’d like to share at one of our panel discussions next month with Carole Morison, Lisa Hamilton, Michael Pollan. I’ll give you credit and bring the answer back to you here. I’d like to see how they answer your “feed the world” concern. That will keep this blog honest in its mission to focus on social media for ag business. But, maybe you can help me with this: One thing I like about the film is it makes us think about how we address problems with the current system. If we can get rid of 80 % of E coli by feeding cows grass, why do we instead spend millions on machines & technology to patch it up? Are subsidies the way to go if it means families can only afford high fat, high sugar, high salt foods and have to bypass the broccoli? If we spend the time and money fixing that problem, we quite possibly could shift money away from major medical costs the people who live on those diets to subsidize the right foods. That way, we could keep feeding the world, but feed it healthier foods. Please stay in touch; and I promise to get you an answer from our events next month. Heidi

    • March 12, 2010 1:01 pm

      Ok, this is one small but commercially viable farmers opinion, and you have to take it as such.
      E coli is not new. It is part of us and all animals, always has been, always will be. No feeding method can get rid of all E coli. The livestock industry understands this so I don’t understand where they would be spending $ on machines and technology. Check out Look under myths& facts.
      I don’t understand all the concern over farm subsidies. On my farm they make up less than 1% of the income. I think government uses them to try and tie us to environmental programs. Being conservative by nature I would like to see all subsidies eliminated starting with the ones for Big Oil.
      When can we get folks to understand that the potato is not a veggie, it’s a starch. Good protein, meat, is not the problem, it’s starch. Check out basic nutrition. The problem is starch and its cousin, sugar, are easier to produce, store and ship than fruit and veggies. Thus cheaper to feed to the masses. They fill you up when the budget is tight.
      Our bodies have a basic craving for fat and sugar. It helps a body that goes through a feast and famine cycle like our ancestors did survive. Since we always have food in front of us, and we don’t exercise as much as we should, that fat and sugar builds up and is never used. Folks in the developed world don’t have work like our ancestors did and thus we get fat. We’re trying to live in a world of plenty with bodies made for times of hunger.
      If you want the world to eat healthier, put them back on the farm. The problem is farming on a subsistence level is hard, difficult, dangerous work. Few want to work that hard work anymore.
      Did any of your discussion panel members grow up on a farm? Did they do the work, spend the long hours needed on a commercial farm? Have they been through an animal nutrition class at an agricultural school? Have they had classes in human nutrition? Have they attended the birth of an animal, feed it, cared for it then done the butchering and eaten it in a commercial setting?
      I have a problem when someone, who has a romantic notion of what farming used to be, tries to tell me what I should be now.
      We’re all growing up with too much money and not enough struggle. When they have been hungry and poor, then they can tell me how to feed the world. When they come to me with a belly full of the abundance of American agriculture and all of its choices, I get a little bit upset.

      • March 12, 2010 6:50 pm

        Thanks, Michael. Great insight. Thoughtful inquiries. Our panelists did come from farm lives, so they’ll appreciate your questions. It’s going to be lively. I’ll keep you posted. Please stay tuned. We value your perspective. Heidi

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