Why Do I AgVocate? – Kristin Reese

What is your role in agriculture?

I grew up on a farm and have always had rural roots, no pun intended as my maiden name is Root. I am a mom to my two little farmers Campbell (8) and Parker (6). Along with my dad we raise Horned Dorset sheep, poultry, the kids dabble with cattle and we raise grass and alfalfa hay. I am a farmer and take great pride in sharing the truths in agriculture from a smaller farm prospective by blogging, working with commodities and businesses on what resonates with our non-farm friends. One of my most favorite ways to do this is by cooking and sharing my love of the farm with my customers through my private cooking business Local Flavor Foods. I have an off farm job as a Real Estate agent so I work with the non-farm public on a daily basis, this allows me the perfect connection to share about life on the farm.

What was your inspiration for becoming an agvocate?

It was by accident I found my love of sharing what we do on the farm. I love to talk and share with people what we do. As a child I can remember being at the Ohio State fair fitting sheep for the show and telling the fairgoers that passed by all about our sheep and passing out samples of wool for them to take home. I have had such amazing people in agriculture who recognized my gift for gab and they have given me opportunities that I could never have done on my own. I would never have dreamed of the experiences agriculture and the people in agriculture have allowed me. I am so very grateful that those wiser than I saw something in me I didn’t even know I had and helped me to develop and continue to develop my skills. I am just another mom who is trying to get it all done and I just happen to drive a tractor and wear overalls and in the mix.

What is your favorite part about being an agvocate?

I enjoy the challenge of discovering what resonates with people. Each of us is at a different point in our lives and different things matter. I love seeing the passion people have about how they participate in our food system. We should want to encourage people and their passions while making sure they have accurate information to help guide them. I enjoy meeting other farmers and learning about their farms and becoming better educated about areas in agriculture I know nothing about.

What is the most challenging part of being an agvocate?

Sometimes it is finding the time to be an advocate is the most challenging to me. I call them friends even though most of them I have never met in real life who are amazing at finding the time to share their stories and experiences. I wish I had more time to advocate in all the ways I desire. How we advocate is constantly changing and the learning and listening never ends, while it is a challenge it is a challenge I enjoy. Who doesn’t like a challenge especially when it is something that is so important!

What advice for other farmer/ranchers who would like to become more involved in agvocacy?

Get your feet wet little by little. Find the area that you are most comfortable, start there and see what builds. If you love to cook share your favorite recipes, if you craft find a way to share little bits about your farm story. Photographs resonate with people so easily maybe that is the way to share what you do and it only takes a few extra moments. We do not need to be all Ag all the time. Be authentic and never be afraid to share your failures sometimes those make for the best stories and keep us even more real not only to our non-farm friends but even our friends in agriculture.

What is your biggest takeaway or memory from an AgChat event or Twitter chat?

The people! I have never felt like I had so many friends who are similar to me. Using the word “friend” with people I have never met seems crazy but there is never a dull discussion and a group of people who will better understand our lives than those who are living in a similar way. We may have completely different farms but there are always similarities.

What does the AgChat Foundation mean to you?

Connection and Empowerment are two words that could not be two better words to have as a bi-line for AgChat. Connecting not only farmers and ranchers with the public but with each other is a vital part of being successful. Empowering us to do what sometimes seems impossible or too much of a challenge is priceless.

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KristinKristin is Local Farm Mom, blogger, Realtor, self-proclaimed chef and farmer who lives in Baltimore, Ohio. She has two small children Campbell (8) and Parker (6), who love their life on their small family farm. Together they raise sheep, grass and alfalfa hay, meat chickens, turkeys, laying hens, a number of garden crops for use in her private cooking business.

Kristin is the owner of Local Flavor Foods, a private cooking business that seeks to build upon the rich tradition of high quality food production in Ohio. Kristin shares about rural life and is ready to tackle some of the big questions and topics about food and farming straight from the farmer’s perspective. Kristin is a farm mom volunteer for CommonGround and several Ohio commodity groups.

Follow her blog, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.