IdeaIdeas. Some call them intellectual property and hang on to them for dear life. I get that – my business has been built on ideas for 10 years. Idea infatuation around the food plate is my specialty. However, it’s become clear to me over the last couple of years that ideas grow when more people are involved.

IDEAS ARE BETTER WHEN GROWN WITHIN A TALENT POOL. Refuse to share your idea and run the risk of its demise. I’ve never claimed brilliance for starting the weekly conversations AgChat and FoodChat two years ago; it was simply being in the right place at the right time. However, I did quickly recognize the talent pool within agriculture’s social media circles was far greater than my own skill set. There are many cool people that have come together to build the AgChat Foundation into a movement to empower more people in agriculture to tell our story. Despite what the pundits say, it is 100% volunteer.

The Foundation just celebrated its one year anniversary.  It’s pretty amazing to see what the community has accomplished in infant hood. Looking in the rear view mirror, I’ll say that operating solo is far easier (honest admission from an independent farm girl). Yet the rewards are far greater with a pool of talent that’s deeper than my own skill set.

Here’s how I’ve seen agriculture’s talent pool in action through the Foundation:

  • a college student puts video know-how into action to create pieces to represent a movement
  • people who suggest topics, serve as special guests and submit questions more than 100 weeks running
  • a future agriculture education teacher researches facts to help grow new advocates and gets involved with training
  • a group of farmers take their techno know-how from personal entertainment or a business application – and turn it into a movement to empower more farmers & ranchers
  • a veterinarian with a penchant for art and jewelry creates products to grow awareness of the cause
  • a handful of professional communicators volunteer and their talents work together for the greater good of agriculture
  • a Ph.D. student in California has a network in which to explore how to help farmers build websites
  • a seedsman in Canada will don a ruffled apron & video tape to draw more attention to a food conversation he’s moderating
  • scores of international journalists who have taken the AgChat Foundation’s story to new levels
  • competitors working together to build awareness of tools to help agriculture more effectively engage in conversations
  • a techno geek in Indiana creates an entire system & process that captures conversations for hundreds to review
  • more than dozen people have regularly volunteered to moderate a weekly lightening speed conversation. AgChat wouldn’t happen without them!
  • farmers and ranchers stepping into training roles to help empower more people to give a firsthand glimpse of where food comes from
  • a handful of academia researching trends, impact and the community behind AgChat & FoodChat
  • meat makers, rabbit people, gardeners, ag education teachers and others who have reached within their own communities to develop a chat

What this group of talented individuals has built isn’t perfect. We have room to grow. However, I know without a doubt that this is the most talented community pool in agriculture today. And for that, I’m grateful. Happy 1st birthday, AgChat Foundation.  Now what are WE going to make happen?